Anyone who knows me or reads my blog or runs with me knows that for some strange reason this year has been full of challenges for me running wise. The equation has been lopsided at best... lots of effort in... not so great performances out. There have been family, pet, personal, career and a myriad of other things interfering as well. In a nutshell that is just life, it happens.
But lately especially with this last respiratory thing I had had going on and my slow recovery out of that it has given me time to think of this year and the past few weeks and in a way marvel at how or why I have just kept at it. To what end am I am motivated? Why haven't I just given up when a lot of times it even appears that is the best course of action if for no other reason for my sanity and self preservation? What is it that as runners, really keeps us going when things get tough?
I think it has to be faith... pure and simple. Not faith in god or a deity or anything like that but just faith that our toil will pay off in the end. Period. Of course that payoff is different for each runner I suppose but that mystical carrot, whatever it may be has to be out there.
For some runners, it is finishing a race of X distance for the first time. For others it is just being faster than they were a week or a season or a year ago. For others it is possibly the chance of increasing their longevity and quality of life. Regardless of the reason though, I don't think that we can lace up our shoes every day like we do without having at least a particle of faith that we are achieving and indeed traveling towards our goals and desired results.
Even though my progress has been stagnated this year I still believe that I am doing the good work that will someday pay off. Be it keeping my blood pressure down, or my weight or just keeping me sane overall. I have to believe yet that the work now will eventually lend itself to progress and improvement and I just have to accept, for now that is a slow process. One of the largest aspects of running and faith for me is that running is truly my fountain of youth. Sure I am getting older but as long as I can run I can still have those rare moments where I can still feel that vitality, that energy and optimism of youth. Most of the time it is that sense of optimism that I treasure the most. The days when everything feels great and I dare to dream the dreams that border on the impossible... Those are the rare moments that I often seek and long for. Maybe that is MY runners high, if there really is such a thing. And trust me... NOT getting old is very, very important to me too. Getting older is inevitable but I never want to get old.
I still believe that I have races and times and performances that I am still capable of and when they happen, myself and a lot of people are going to be pleasantly surprised. The key point here is that I still believe that I can improve in one way or the other.
But I have to be realistic. In a few years, (hopefully in quite a few years) I won't be able to improve. It will just be impossible. What then? If I had to guess, I will still be able to have attainable goals, but they will just be slightly different.
It's gonna be easier later on to win first in my age group when, well... I am the only one in my age group that shows up that day! How is that for a long-view based on faith? :)
This is sort of what I am referring to. Talk about never giving up! I've seen this video floating around a bit the past few weeks and what this guy did was nothing short of a miracle in my opinion.