Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Journey of a Thousand Miles...

...begins with a single step.
~Lao-Tsu, Chinese Philosopher

My first step this year was on January 4th. It wasn't my hardest run or even my longest run.


Without the first step out the door in January, none of the other ones would have been possible. The cold runs, the hot runs, the recovery runs, the slow runs, the fast runs, the tempo runs, the track runs, the actual runs (runner humor)... None of it would have been possible without the first step.

Today I hit a milestone for the first time in my running life. I hit the 1000 mile mark in a single calendar year. I realize that today is not possible without all of the other days that I didn't want to get up, and get out the door.
But today's post isn't about me.Today's post is about YOU.

Yes YOU.

I speak to a lot of people who marvel at running 26.2 miles...the sheer audacity of the task. They say things like "Oh I could never do that." or "Why would you do that?" or (my personal favorite) "The only reason I'd ever run is if something was chasing me."

Allow me to answer those if I may.

To the "I could never do that" crowd. The moment that you tell yourself that you could NEVER do something you have assured yourself that you never will. You have placed upon yourself chains that will hold you down forever. Our words and thoughts have power over us. Much more so than our muscles do. When you free your mind to do amazing things, you can achieve them. Yes YOU. Practice this, not just in a physical endeavor, but in your work life, and in your family. Change the way you think and speak and eliminate the mental chains that are on you.

To the "Why would you want to run a marathon" crowd. In the immortal words of John F. Kennedy...(we run marathons)

...not because they are easy, but because they are hard..

There is nothing innately special about running an arbitrary distance. Nothing. Had Phidippides only run 10 miles from Marathon to Athens then collapsed and died, maybe we'd all be running 10 milers. Sometimes I wish he'd only run 10 miles. But what is so special about running any race in general is you are 1) Pushing yourself toward a goal 2) Improving your health 3) Boosting your confidence in every aspect of life. Running for the elites is about being physically stronger, fitter, faster. Running for everyman is less about the physical, and more about the mental and emotional. The combined efforts of every workout, every early morning wash over you like the tides as you cross that finish line, and you are overcome with a feeling that you rarely find anywhere else. Its a hurt, but the best hurt you'll ever feel.*

*from a guy who has never gone through childbirth

Lastly to the "I don't run anywhere unless something is chasing me" crowd. This is written to my former self. If you see yourself here...good. Do something about it. If not, just indulge me...

" don't look fat. You're tall and you can carry a few extra pounds. You eat garbage, and it is catching up with you. You weigh more than you ever have, and if you don't do something you're going to be on maintenance medicines like Lipitor and Blood Pressure medicine the rest of your life. You are letting your body waste away. Wake up and do something. No you can't run a mile without passing out. But just go and try. Try to walk. Do something. Even if you don't want to do it for yourself do it for the people who love you. The first step is the hardest. Stop masking your insecurity with humor. You will uncover relationships and connections with the runner community like you never thought possible. Just take ONE step out the door. It is the hardest one. Just one. See where it takes you..."
In my case, its now taken me 1000 miles in 9.5 months. I NEVER thought I could do it, but I'm sitting here as living proof to all of you...that if you just take the first step out the door....Oh the places you'll go!

Just take one step. Today.


Mike said...

I really enjoyed reading this post as I also face the same problems with my friends/acquaintances. When they know that I'm a triathlete they're all like "How can you do that? You must be from another planet! I could never..."
Well, actually you can, running, swimming or biking is not science fiction, everyone can do it you just have to try it!

Mike @TheIronYou

Josie said...

Such a powerful message! It's true, whether you think you can or you can't, you're right! Congrats on the 1000 mile mark, that's no small accomplishment! :)

Randy said...

Thanks Mike and Josie for stopping by. I hope you'll be regular visitors!

David H. said...


Kara said...

I really enjoyed this post! As someone who runs more than 26.2, I get a lot of responses like that ("Why on earth would you run that far??").

I love that you added a caveat for childbirth. As someone who got an epidural, I have to say that running is harder. :)

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the 1000! Loved the post, really makes you think. Speaking of which, your post made me go check my Garmin TC...I knew I was close, but have been too busy to pay attention..I was hoping to also hit 1000 in a year (I got my Garmin Oct 30) and OMG, as of Sunday's run I'm at 1003.79. I would not be enjoying this moment if not for your post! Congrats again and thanks!!! Keep it up!

Randy said...

Kara and Christina, Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

tiana said...

Great blog! You are right on!