If you have known me for any amount of time, you know this one thing about me: I like to run, and I really feel like a runner when I run fast. However, this one thing is also true: I am not a fast runner. But I am a runner none the less, no matter how slow or fast I run, simply because I run. And because I run, I believe that it is possible to achieve my goals of running longer or faster when I follow those training plans designed to prepare and adapt my body to go the distance.
What you believe has more power than what you dream or wish or hope for. You become what you believe.Oprah Winfrey
This belief of mine is essential to my productive running life. If I did not believe it possible to become the marathoner I desire to become, then my doing would be disconnected from my thinking and believing. In other words, I believe I can complete a marathon distance race, because I have trained my body and my mind to adapt to the increasing stresses of marathon training. Every day I perform the exercises prescribed in my training plan, I am a marathoner. These BELIEFS I have about myself and my running, make it possible for me to SEE (realize) the results and accomplishments of my training and of my believing. Truly, I become a marathoner even before I toe the line of any marathon race.
“In running, every step you make and every push forward changes you – it transforms you into a different person. Every single run adds something to you and then it also takes something away. You are not the same person you have been at the starting line and by the time you come to the finish your inner self has been reinvented and reimagined.”The Zen Of Running
And now it has been a one week since I completed my third marathon. Two weeks ago, I felt fully trained and prepared to complete the 26.2-mile distance within my targeted finish time. And thankfully, race day weather conditions under the giant redwood trees were absolutely perfect. Yet within the first three miles of crossing the starting line, my legs were feeling heavy, tired and less than energized to meet the challenge of running a marathon that day. And of course, upon my less than optimal body scan, my mind began streaming all matter of unpleasant, unacceptable possibilities for me to consider as I braced for a day’s worth of suffering; last but not least, my spirit was straining to grasp for reasons so as to play the ‘name and blame’ game. Surely someone or something is responsible for this unexpected waning on my most important day to be a runner.
What does this all mean? Why, after fulfilling every detail of training and preparation of the past four months, did I feel so flat and impotent on this most anticipated race day? I could conjure no plausible explanations; though as the miles passed I came up with a few theories which might explain my less than stellar performance. But in the present moments of my race day, reasons were not helpful… only by dealing with the current controllable items could I maintain a peaceful mind. And what were those controllables? I gave up on what I believed I deserved that day, and resigned myself to doing what I had trained myself to do for the last four months: move forward, whatever the pace, keeping the highest, most positive mindset possible.
Every response you make is determined by what you think you are, and what you want to be IS what you think you are. What you want to be, then, must determine every response you make.A Course in Miracles
Accepting the reality that everything was as it should be, I let my mind be bathed in the peace of the shimmering light filtering through the vast array of the redwood forest; and I reconciled myself towards enjoyment of the day, no matter the outcome. I would embrace this unexpected difficulty and practice my Linking–Thinking techniques, namely: give no matter to the thoughts swirling in my head; and there was a considerable amount of negative thinking streaming past my eye screen. So the work of the day was to distance my Being self from the negativity, and turn my Doing self towards awareness. I had everything I needed to cue me towards peace: the sound and tempo of my footsteps and breathing. And no matter what else was streaming through my consciousness, the one thing I hung onto throughout the 6-hour wog (i.e. walk/jog) to the finish line was this: I AM a runner!
“People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves they have the first secret of success.”Norman Vincent Peale
Indeed, I have much to learn yet about myself and my chosen sport. And though I am disappointed with the outcome of my third marathon finish, I am grateful for the experience and learning it has provided me. If this was easy, I would already have lost interest in the doing of this sport. And most importantly, this lesson has led me to the point of my writing this post. I hope you too might know that Believing is Seeing. I challenge you to try it on for yourself; perhaps you will discover that standing in this belief, truly transmutes the im-possible things into I’m possible.
What about you? Have you ever felt like Seeing is Believing rather than Believing is Seeing? I would love to hear your thoughts!