Today I ran the worst race of my running life. I had no intentions of even signing up for this, because who runs a race at 7:30 in the morning on July 4 in Myrtle Beach? It’s never NOT going to blazing hot. However, I was given a free entry by a friend, and no real runner turns down a free entry to a race. I set my expectations to just 2 goals: don’t die, and cross the finish line.
- Broken, Beat & Scarred by Metallica - specifically the lyrics “You rise, you fall, / You're down then you rise again / What don't kill you make you more strong."
- An Og Mandino quote: “I will persist until I succeed.” This is engraved on my RoadID as a constant reminder.
As I said in this last post, I spend a LOT of time in the land of self-development. One of the most crucial things I learned via Tony Robbins many years ago is that while we cannot control the things that happen to us, we absolutely CAN control how react. And so, I had a choice today. I could sit, and wallow in self-pity on the side of the road, as this race was going so so badly, as was every.single.run I’ve had for 2 months now. Or I could decide I that I would not let this race beat me.
As I walked BACK through the water station a second time (I’ve never, ever done this) I thought of all the good people I know who are currently fighting to regain their health, have won a battle against cancer, have lost a child or have had multiple miscarriages, have had their identity stolen, or have been in terrible accidents that nearly killed them. The list goes on. Unless you believe the filtered lives that people reveal on Facebook, you most likely know that life is just not easy. As a matter of fact, it’s the opposite of that. And a lot of the time, it downright sucks. But we GET to choose our reactions to life events. These amazing people I know have overcome so much, and I stand in awe of them on a regular basis. They all had choices to make at some point. Sit and wallow, or get up and fight.
So, I am back to my choice at the water stop. Quit or go on. I went on. I went on slowly, with yet more walking. I had finally gotten to the last 1/2 mile and told myself, “OK, you can run this last part. You’ve got this.” Nope. I didn’t have anything. Walked one more time. However, I DID cross that finish line in an upright position, and even running. I finished at least 2 minutes per mile slower than where I feel I should be at this point. I can choose to beat myself up over a poor performance (as most runs have been lately), OR I can choose to reflect and figure out a plan to make myself better.
I am choosing to make myself better. This is why I run. I make my mind stronger every time I don’t give up. It makes me capable of dealing with the inevitable suckiness of life, whenever it chooses to hit. Whether it be physical, mental, financial, personal, or professional problems, I have the strength to go on. Most of my runs last 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. Life problems are obviously longer than that, and I don’t mean to make light of these problems. My point is, it’s the habit of not giving up that makes us not just able to survive life, but actually thrive in life.
What makes YOU thrive?