Way back in 2014, I looked at Ashley and said "I will do it again." Seven miles in, 10 miles in, 13.1 miles in and even shortly after the finish when some of my tendons were protesting and I was having trouble walking. I had no idea what was coming, optimistically, foolishly, happily (all these words and more come to mind) less then a month later we signed up for another two races back to back. I recently looked back at my journal from that day and there was no doubt that come 2016 Ashley and I would be crossing the finish line together for both the 10K and half-marathon.
I spent a great deal of time feeling angry with that aspect of myself, that woman that imagined and believed I was capable of so much. She made this plan, she expected my health and fitness to continue an upward trajectory. She was in a place filled with light and was able to expand her focus to countless possibilities. In a few months I would feel plunged into a pit of narrow focus, as health became my priority. I wouldn't even show up to race in January 2016, though Ashley kept me with her and I celebrated her crossing the finish lines from a cozy bed.
In June of 2016, I met that optimistic, foolish aspect of myself and signed up to race in 2017. Though there was doubt, that certainty that I could do it was gone. Now the idea was to see what would happen, to allow myself to be open and to keep my focus on my health.
This past week I have found myself angry again with that woman who signed me up for these two races. I did my best, I followed the training, listened to my body and I still have no certainty about how my body will perform. I know my limits, I know I am capable of finishing the 10K in a good solid body, I know that completing the half marathon would be too much. But I also know that it is common for me to hit walls and need to stop. While I was packing and starting to feel the excitement of the race I started to crave finishing both races. I could feel that desire to prove that I was still who I used to be.
Failure is right there, the word, not an action. The mind lying to me and telling me that I am a failure, for not being able to complete this challenge. The mind telling me I have made no progress, the mind wanting to keep me in a dark pit. That is not what the darkness is for, the darkness is not place where perfection lives, it is not free from failure or pain. Darkness a place to reflect, to recover, to take time to grow and it is a place to leave.
I decided to write her a thank you note, a note to that woman that I have the pleasure of meeting again and again, the dreamer, the creator and the faithful. She would understand the anger, she has gone through it again and again. She understands the pain and glory of goals, she sees the spectrum. She understands that "success" may not equal joy and "failure" may not equal grief.
Writing my thank you note brought light to the lies the mind is telling me, and allowed me to realize that I was feeling more than just anger. This was never about the race, this has always been about discovering what is possible and spending time with some of my favorite people in the world on a giant playground. The light of honoring each other's pace and our own pace and knowing that in the end we will laugh AND cry together.
Question of the day: What aspect of yourself do you notice meeting again and again?