The Inspired Perspirer

1% Inspiration, 99% Perspiration

Tag: victory

Just roll with the punches… then counter-attack with a vengeance!

“The best laid plains of mice and men often go awry…”

As you might can already tell, this weekend did NOT go as planned. I AM a planner, and I tend to keep “the plan” on my person at all times, regardless of what “the plan” pertains to. The Evernote app on my smartphone allows this. Whether it is a vacation (what to pack, what to see, what to do, what to buy), a grocery list, or a running schedule, “the plan” is with me always. Usually, a plan is what is needed to ensure what needs done, gets done. However, spontaneity is the spice of life (as is variety), so I do like to leave flexibility within my plans. Too much rigidity suffocates me. And yet, still, I do sometimes find myself getting perturbed when “the plan” goes awry. Thankfully, when it went awry this weekend, I was able to just go with it.

It started with Saturday morning… when the alarm went off for my run, I was NOT feeling it. Despite the prior day’s preparations (hydrating, carb-loading) for this last big push before my first half marathon, when I woke up, I was exhausted. So, I hit the snooze a few times. The alarm was VERY early, and I could afford a few snoozes. When I finally got up and ready, I was feeling good. The morning was cool, which was a refreshing treat. THIS was going to be a good run!

But, then the dogs started following me… they did NOT need to follow me on this run as I would be crossing a major highway. And putting them on a leash is not even an option… we are VERY rural, and these dogs are working dogs, not pets. So, I headed back and tried putting them in the house. Time was ticking… the sun was up and the thermometer was rising. It gets hot QUICK in Texas! I managed to get one inside, then I started working on the other. Just a few minutes later, my husband let the one out of the house… along with both house dogs. So, then we tried catching them all up again. It just wasn’t working. I was very annoyed by this time, especially when I looked at the time. I had a choice to make… either he could drive me away from the ranch and I could start my run (and battle the rising heat), OR I could wait till the next morning and we could go run in the park. I chose the latter. AND I chose to be happy about it.

As it turns out, they were GOOD choices. We had a wonderful, restful day together, went to see “Hubble” at the IMAX, scouted restrooms and parking spaces at the park, picked up some more gels, had a wonderful pasta dinner together, and just generally enjoyed a very relaxing day together. After a good night’s rest, we woke up before dawn, gathered our gear and headed to town. He biked while I ran. It was the farthest I’ve ever ran before – 11 miles! I was absolutely determined to suck all the life and mileage I possibly could out of this run, and I was happy the whole way through – smiling through the pain of the final miles, light-heartedly greeting every soul I passed along the way. With a bit of a limp, I finished my run, then stretched and played in the water park along with the kids.

How do I manage to keep going when my muscles want to stop? I remind myself of how good I will feel once I have the pain behind me. I remind myself that life is short and tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. I remind myself that pain is fleeting, and victory is eternal. I tell my body that IT works for ME, and then I attack my day with all the energy and force I can possibly muster! And then, victory IS mine!!

The Idea

“The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

You know that saying “no pain, no gain”? Well, it’s absolutely true. “Building muscle” hurts. As you workout, you’re not really “building” muscle at all – you’re ripping, shredding and DESTROYING muscle. The “building” part actually comes when you are resting and your body is repairing itself. This is why a good workout SHOULD be accompanied by some level of pain. The pain is how you know you are getting somewhere!

With this in mind, I know that my academic goal will require just as much training, struggle, commitment, and strength of will as my athletic goal of running a marathon. I am reminded of something Richard Feynman once said to a reporter… I don’t remember the exact quote, but it went along the lines of “you want to know about these big things, but you don’t even know about the small things! Go learn about the small things first!” Begin at the beginning, and start with small things… just as when I picked up running I started with “small things” – short distances.

You may be wondering why I am so inspired by a Physicist when that is not what I aim to be. The thing is, Richard Feynman never stopped learning. He saw EVERYTHING as a LEARNABLE SKILL… all you need is a teachable mind an a willingness to experiment! At one point in his studies, he took a hiatus to work in biology, ultimately making discoveries in that field. Later, with no formal training, he picked up music and art, and advanced himself in those fields as well. If, to this, all you have to say is, “of course HE did, HE was a certifiable GENIUS!” ….well, then, all I have to say to you is, “Pecans to you!! What do I care what others think?!”

I know the path ahead will be difficult. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

If there’s one thing life has taught me it’s this: the harder the struggle, the sweeter the victory.