Monday, September 20, 2010

The Only Way Out is Through

My friend, Linda, has been dealing with ongoing foot pain (and associated surgery) for many months now. She perseveres, though, and she says "the only way out is through." I like that way of saying it.

Running 5, 10, even 13 miles is something that I did many times during the running boom of the 1980's. I could do that. Even without much thought or preparation, I could do that. Well, actually, when I was young I could do that. But, at 51, getting much beyond a few miles (and running the whole time) was a challenge. In fact, my initial plan for my first marathon was to walk about 1/3 of the time and run the other 2/3. And that was a BIG jump from where I started.

I kept going, though, and gradually I could run 3, 5, 6, even 10 miles without walking at all. Diligitently following a training plan for newbies was going to get me where I wanted to go. I started to believe I could do it. I was slow, mind you, but never still.

The first time I went beyond 13 miles was "no mans land." I had run that distance once before. Quite literally, once before, and that was in 1981--nearly 30 years ago. As I worked my way up to twenty miles, each greater distance brought a breakthrough physically and mentally. I found my mind settling into a new kind of consciousness that was calm, deliberate, and steady. Focused on only the next few yards, I simply put one foot after the other and I made it through. It was never without pain, and it was always with reward.

Tell me when you're ready to run (or walk) your first 5k, Linda. I'll go with you.

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