Showing Up…Is the Reward

I have never run a ‘race pace’ so slow in all the races I have entered in the last five years. But I have never felt more accomplished than I do now 9 days after completing my first marathon.  If you have read any of my previous blog posts from the past several months, you will know how meaningful this marathon finish is to me. I am exceedingly grateful and supremely amazed that I was able to convince my legs to keep moving for 26.2 miles non-stop for five and a half hours. Clearly, the body is able if the mind is willing and believing!

“All you need is the courage to believe in yourself and put one foot in front of the other.” — Kathrine Switzer

As a personal trainer, many of my clients had no doubt I could accomplish this distance to completion. But I had other thoughts and beliefs about my ability; thoughts that could not comprehend such an accomplishment. Giving attention to those kinds of thoughts did not make a finish line seem likely in my future. I did not like thinking those kinds of thoughts nor did I like the way those thoughts made me feel. They made me feel impotent in my striving; they made me feel foolish for desiring such a goal for myself; those lousy negative thoughts took away my joy. And whenever I caught myself in that downward spiral, I got mad and made myself wake up to change the channel of my thinking.

“You don’t need to do twenty-five squats today to build your quad muscles. You need to think five positive thoughts about your motivations for running, fitness, and lifelong health. Because it’s not the quads that will get your legs moving, it’s the thoughts.” –Amby Burfoot

Clearly, the work before race day had already been done in my physical training. And as the calendar pages flipped closer to my marathon, I realized the greatest obstacle I would face would be my own thinking thoughts. So there was nothing else for me to do except give myself permission to think thoughts about all those things that could and would go right for me during the marathon.

I remember now, how those kinds of thoughts felt like such a luxury to me during the race…truly like the wind beneath the wings of my feet. Astonishment was my traveling companion in those last six miles to the finish…how was it possible to arrive at this distance feeling so exhilarated and and so grateful?

I have never before known such personal determination. And yet, I know there were so many others who gave me assistance on my way to the finish line…of this I am most gratefully certain! Between the cheering spectators on the course and at home, I sit here today, nine days later amazed. Amazed that I moved my legs for more than fifty-two thousand consecutive steps to cross a finish line I set out to concur more than nine months ago…my first marathon finish. What an honor and privilege it is to run this race we call life!

MCM 2018 finish

Deb (#679) finishing the 2018 Marine Corps Marathon

“Life is for participating, not for spectating.”
― Kathrine Switzer

The Space Between

As I sit here this morning in quiet contemplation, I wonder what it is that the Lord would have me know and do today; I am thinking several things at once. First, today is Friday and it lays open and bare without the structure of work or requirement of appointments. That at first puts me at some dis-ease as I am so used to having my days booked and scheduled to the full. The other strand that is floating by my awareness is that I should be heading out the door for my morning run. But it’s still a little too cool for my liking, and truth be told, I feel less than motivated to go out when I have no ‘race’ on my calendar.

There are no idle thoughts. All thinking produces form at some level.
~A Course in Miracles~

So I am sitting here tapping away on my keyboard trying to be quiet and not upset so that I can hear the whispers and stirrings of Spirit. And yes, for many reasons, I am feeling a little out of sorts. All the ‘things’ that I look to for purpose and structure are lacking at this moment, and I’m trying to be okay with that because I want to fully occupy this time in space. I do not want to scamper away in fullness of care ~ I do not want to fill my hours with activity just to feel better about a momentary lull. I want to, and I think I am actually already beginning to, luxuriate in this quiet space between.

Understand that the right to choose your own path is a sacred privilege. Use it. Dwell in possibility. ~Oprah Winfrey~

So today, this morning, this moment in time, has given me some ideas about possibilities; about change; about simplicity; about contentment in any situation and condition; today, in these quiet minutes I have determined that a reduction is necessary.

Examine these thoughts, because they are fears about outcomes. But this worry is based on your need to know. Break the cycle of those thoughts by being aware of the now. Savor the quest, not the finish.
The Cool Impossible ~Christopher McDougall and Eric Orton

It is time to reduce my dependence on the need to sate every waking hour with movement; there is a stirring this morning to learn a new rhythm for the day; to recognize the value of each rest and pause for the gift that it is. The space between is indeed a destination which my soul craves; I must come here often…so that I may find respite and renewal.