I have a wall full of pages from my daily running calendar. Not every page makes the cut, but enough of them have that I am running out of space. They are quotes with varying forms of motivation or encouragement or affirmation about why I do this--why runners run. Some are funny, lighthearted, like: FIRST I RUN THE MILES, THEN I EAT THE DONUTS. Some are tough love accountability: CAN’T FIND 30 MINUTES IN A DAY TO RUN? LOOK HARDER; and everything (profound and happy and sassy) in between. But there is one in particular that affects me in two distinct ways, depending on, quite literally, where my head is. Oh, and by my head, I mean my mind--my willful, strong, capable, helpful, destructive mind. This page says this:
RUNNING IS 90% MENTAL. THE REST IS ALL PHYSICAL.
The day this came up on the calendar, March 26th, to be exact, I laughed when I read it. That’s clever, I thought. That was the first effect--humor. Ha ha, that's funny, and probably has some truth to it, I think. Little did I know that it was the kick off to the next major leg of this experience, and the second effect: the sobering realization that maybe everything had been leading up to and preparing me for this, the biggest challenge: My Mind. I had already been challenged on my attitude ( a story for another post), and I was already well down the road of uncovering and reintegrating my emotions (a story for another book). My spirit has always been on board, and has dreamed and believed things way beyond reason. But my mind...often dodging, weaving, blaming. So as each of the other obstacles presented themselves, I called them up and addressed them and took them out of hiding, and it left the spot light on my mind. As powerful as emotions and genetics are; as forceful as a willing spirit, and even a broken spirit, can be; and as much as an unchecked attitude has the sway to derail and sabotage your journey, none of these can compete with the power of the mind. At least they couldn't in my case. Through it all, underneath it all, and behind it all, was my mind.
Because of this mind awakening, I almost got to start the running experience all over again. As I discovered the power of my mind arching over all of this, I first got a little honeymoon phase. It was exhilarating and I couldn't believe what I could do with my training and this strong mind, like run a 12 Hour Ultra Virus Race where I completed 30 miles. As I recovered from that race, I was also emboldened, and now I was going to see what else I could do. But, like in life, all honeymoons come to an end so the real marriage can begin. And this one came crashing down. The only way to really make it work is to go all in, so the real work of building an authentically strong mind, that doesn't dodge and weave and blame, but, instead, is honest and gritty and supportive, began; and the learning and testing come through running. Running, once again, gives me my biggest challenges, offers the opportunity to master them, and then broadens my whole life when I rise to them. I am still rising to this one and clearing out all the rooms of my mind to let all the light in, to make sure the right ideas and attitudes are at the helm. And running is my measure.
Yesterday I ran a Mile Time Trial. I don't know how many I've done, now. More than 5, less than 20--somewhere in there. Time Trials don't lie, they just give you a snapshot of the work you've put in. Today wasn't my fastest mile, but I can absolutely live with it. Because it's an honest reflection of where I am--body, MIND & spirit.