Sunday, December 25, 2016

Wind, trees, change

Things do not change; we change. Thoreau.

Standing in the woods today as the wind blew strong against the trees, some alive and some already dead but still pushing back against each blow, I couldn't help but think how our brains, or at least mine, are afloat on a wind of thoughts that blow in both good and horrible thoughts. I supposed the great question for today was whether to let ourselves go where that mental wind blows or to stand strong against the gale and remain firm in our position like the trees. 
The past is firmly fixed like the trees. Memories are there. Unchangeable in fact. Miles run are miles in the book. Yes, it can wear with time and become blurry, but in the truest terms of fact, what happened is written in time. My brain sometimes blows against them and tries to move good ones into painful ones and painful ones into obscurity and I suppose that's similar to living trees that provide shade and protection and the dead trees that only take up space and provide nothing of value. 

The future, or our plans, are by nature unfixed. We see our goals ahead of us and we chase them with a passion built in the present. But when we catch them we are sometimes not who we were when we began the chase and the goal ahead becomes fluid. So no matter how solidly we paint the picture of the future it can never be anything but unknown. And that can be scary if we let our minds blow that way. 

I have intentionally refused to write about my Boston qualification because I don't know what to feel about it. This goal, so amazing and glamorous that I would chase it for 10 years, became less than monumental less than a day after it was realized. When it was the future, a plan, a goal, I had a picture of how it would be to achieve it. I'd train hard and throw myself into it with the full support of the people I loved and who loved me. That sublime scene, painted on the canvas of my mind for years, was me finally throwing my full weight into pushing that stone up and over the hill, standing on top, glowing like the Oklahoma sunrise, feeling a self worth previously unbeknownst to me. I'd be that guy I always dreamed of becoming. It wasn't so much achieving it that would give me that feeling as much as putting in the work needed to achieve it. 
Crossing the line seeing the clock read 3 hours and 14 minutes felt so good. For a moment. Then I looked around and the first thing I noticed was how different the scene was in reality compared to how it had hung on the wall of my mind for all those years. The things that I lost, and the things I found, on the way to achieving it played heavily on my mind and I cried sobbing, uncontrollable tears of joy and pain. It took me a long time to pull myself together at that finish line. I'm honestly not sure I actually did pull everything together. I left so many things on that course and in those final inches. They fell out of me uncontrollably and I couldn't gather them all back into my heart because they scattered once they were free. And now I still struggle, wondering if I should have held them firm inside me against the winds of change or is it OK that they blew away? My future became my past, being now for only a few moments, and now neither seem recognizable to me. 
Truth is, I now feel very little about accomplishing the goal. It just doesn't hold the consequence I supposed it would. It just happened. My feelings about it now are that I'd like to run it again, not to achieve a goal but because it felt so damn good running that like I did!  A conservative runner by nature, normally putting in conservative miles early with the hope of saving my energy for the later miles, in this race I rejected that old way and put my cards on the table in the first mile. Fuck it, I told myself, if you're going to do this you have to run each mile as if it's the final mile of the race and each mile split is the goal time. Throwing myself across the buzzing of my watch like the final 100 meters. It was a mental game and a fight against the fear that resides in the next mile. There was no next mile. Only this mile I was running. I might fall off the pace but that was in the future and couldn't be considered. I ran this mile. And then the following mile. There was no future because it was unknown and full of fear for me. Then couldn't exist in the now; there wasn't room. The miles gone by were fixed and done and there was no future. It was the most free my soul has ever been.

Although my 10 year dream didn't materialize in the way I had envisioned, It taught me to embrace a new way of honoring the present with my best effort and keeping my sail filled with the positive mental wind that's blowing now. Let it push my boat away from the safety of the conservative shore of the past and not to worry about whether it will be there to bring me back. The trees on that shore are dead anyway. Enjoy the breeze in my face and the sun in my hair because that's all there is. 

The reality is that my goal didn't change, I changed.

Thanks for listening

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve

The smallest ember of hurt, landing upon the strongest bond can grow. Fed by mis, or no, communication and misunderstanding it turns the bond into fuel and sprouts a flame. Fed by fear the flame erupts into a fire spurring anger and hate until it becomes the funeral pyre of the bond.
This year has wrought so many things that spur our divisions. More anger, more hate, more fear is not the solution to any problem.
We're brothers and sisters in humanity at our core. Whatever ember fell on us this year please remember that all the things that divide us are only shadows cast on our view by the fire that started long ago by a small ember of hurt. You can look beyond the shadows for the bond that's still there if you will only try.
Person to person, race to race, community to community, country to country, it doesn't matter how small the first drop of understanding is that you put on the ember. Every ocean is filled with small drops.
Here's to hoping 2017 is a waterfall.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Just Run

Well folks we're down to it. The Tucson marathon is tomorrow where I'll try to finally qualify for Boston. I've done all the training. I hit every goal and made every run. There's nothing left to do now but run.
It's kinda fitting that I find myself in this position in my running life at this moment in time. I've done all I can do and now all I have left to do is run. No more effort or thought is needed or even could be beneficial. I've reached that point where it's time to stop training and planning and just do. Do what needs to be done and move through this point to the other side. I'll either qualify or I won't but I can't stay here on this side of trying any longer.
I'm surprisingly calm about it.
I'll move through this and see what's on the other side knowing that I can't control most of what happens. I'll put what I have out there for the world to see and find out how my hand plays against the house. This is not at all how I pictured this challenge would play out but if I've learned anything over the last months it's that I shouldn't try to control anything. When I do try it makes things much worse than I could ever imagine. So I'll let the universe play this one out and let things come and go; let people play their part on the stage, and try to enjoy the show. My next scene begins with the marathon tomorrow and the script isn't known to me but I've rehearsed in the best way I know how.

See you on the other side.

Thanks for listening.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A moment

Just a quick note to mark today as special. Tonight my youngest came into my room and asked me to show him how to shave. It's a small thing, but it meant so much to me. I love that boy more than I have capacity to love. He fills up my soul when I think about him. When we connect through these little moments it makes me so happy because, unlike when he was a baby and I could hold him and love him, now we are sharing things like this instead of me just loving him from one side. He can now interact with me in these small ways and give me tiny pieces of his life and memories. I love that.
Thanks for listening