I love detail-oriented people…I’m just not one of them. I’ve been reminded of this recently in my training for the Chicago Marathon.
I really dove in to the preparation with both feet. I got a hold of a few training plans online and fashioned a plan that would go well with my busy schedule. I found a website where I could plan my routes on a google map and I planned 1, 2, 3, and 5 mile routes nearby that I could combine as necessary for different mileage. I bought an armband holder for my iPod shuffle so I could listen to tunes as I ran. I talked to the runners I know about what to expect; I asked for their advice. And despite all this work, I discovered that there is one thing I couldn’t get around; one thing that I absolutely had to do.
It was during one of my early runs that it hit me. “This sucks,” my body told me as I trudged out the last few miles home. “I don’t like it.” Though I still have my hard miles and even hard runs, I have learned to enjoy the training quite a bit. The visceral sense of accomplishment when I finish a 2-3 hour run is amazingly real. But its the tough miles that make the satisfaction so sweet.
And in those moments when my body is pleading with me to stop, my big-picture brain doesn’t help. Telling my aching body that I only have eight or nine miles to go just doesn’t cut it. In those moments all I can do is find that part of my brain that likes the details and lives in the present. In other words, I have to concentrate on running. Left. Right Left. Right. Keep moving forward. It will get better, not by stopping, but by running through it.
Life is like that sometimes. Sure, sometimes you’ve got to call it, and it’s the wise thing to quit. But most of the time, the way out of pain is through it, to keep moving forward. Pain isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a thing, part of life, a blessing of being alive.