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Running the Race

  12/25/13 05:31, by , Categories: General, Advice

This post is about being ready. About two years ago, I heard that one of my neighbors was planning to run the marathon in Tiberias. I figured if he could do it, so could I. I am in pretty decent shape. I've got a rowing machine. I use it. I can sit down and row a marathon; so I figured I should be able to run one without too much difficulty. My first run was three kilometers, my next one six, a longer distance than I'd ever run to that point in my life. I got to nine, twelve, took a two week break to paint and do some work at my parents house and play cards and smoke cigarettes with my mom, came back and worked my way up to 24 kilometers a week or so before the race.

I ran the Marathon in 5 hours and 12 minutes. I figured if I was going to run that one, I might as well run Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as well. I finished those too. I couldn't help signing up for Tiberias again this year. I just wanted to see if I could beat my time (I didn't). Not that any of these results are really relevant to this post, but I'm proud of them.

In the run up to the Tiberias marathon, I learned about a half-marathon that's run in the Bet Shean area. It stuck in my head as one I had to do. Now there is no way I could have done a half in Tiberias. In my mind it's just weenie to run a half when there's a whole available. But that's why Bet Shean appealed to me. I wouldn't be wanking out if I ran just a half when that's all there is.

I signed up seventy something days out. I knew it was on the schedule. I really really planned to practice for it. I got out and ran five kilometers. It hurt. I ran three. It wasn't great either. I ran three, rowed two, ran five, rowed two. I survived. I kept planning when I'd run, what intervals, what days. None of that happened. Somehow I knew I could run the race. I wasn't interested in being the fastest, just finishing. And that's what I did. After five kilometers of pain and doubt, I just kept putting one foot before the other and made it to the finish line in 2:28:43.

So in the realm of turning this experience into an inspiring blog post, I invite you - and myself of course - to turn the race into a metaphor for life. People appear to be impressed when I say I've run a marathon. But I don't think it's the marathon that impresses them. I think it's that I did what I said I would.

People say I'd love to (put your special thing in here), but then we don't make it happen. The truth is anyone of us could run our race. We just don't. We don't even start. Think of it this way:

Your boss says “People having breakthrough results in their personal lives is good for our business.” You say “I want to lose some weight, maybe run a 5k.” She says “Great, we'll only offer healthy fare at the company cafeteria. You'll have sausage and eggs for breakfast, a chunk of some fatty animal product for lunch, then you go up to the gym for a forty five minute workout with our personal trainer. After work, we'll send you home with a prime rib steak for dinner."

I can't imagine too many people who wouldn't see some results in this scenario. But most bosses don't say this. So it's up to us to make it happen for ourselves. I think it's worth our while to notice what conversations we have with ourselves that keep us from having what we want. It's usually something about circumstances over which we claim we have no control, often starting with “when,” things like when I have more time, or save up some money, when the busy season ends, and so on.

The truth is it's only the right time when you say it is. And usually, when you say it is, the universe lines up to help you along. No matter how much you prepare, you could always have prepared more or started sooner. But if you put yourself in the race, and show up at the starting line, you might just find that you've already got what it takes to finish. You might have some cramps and pains along the way, but it's only a handful of people that get taken away in an ambulance, and you are not going to be one of them.

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