There is a man who lives in Lake Oswego named Jeff. He has ALS - Lou Gehrigs disease. He has had it for many years now and has outlived the drs prediction by a long shot. Jeff started a daily email - you can join the list - his website is www.friendsofjeff.com. Trevor and I both get Jeff's daily inspirational emails. The craziest thing is that he almost always hits the nail on the head with us. The theme of his emails are very often right in line with what Trevor and I are going through. When I am struggling with a decision or a situation, his words often pop up in my email and make me feel better about things. This last week he talked about circumstance. He said this: "When things are hunky dory, you can smile and take some satisfaction. But when they are not, you've got choices that must be made. Even the choice to do nothing shows you something about who you are. Take stock of who you are often, and when you don't like what you find, determine to do something about it."
Last week, during my long workout, I was wondering what it was all for. These words from Jeff reminded me about my marathon 7 years ago. I had started that challenge to prove something to myself - not to anyone else, but myself. At mile 16, I became someone I did not like. I was angry. About everything. When I finished I was not proud or satisfied. I was not energized or excited. I was simply relieved. Relieved it was done and over with. And I was never going to do it again.
I tucked this experience in the back of my mind and didn't think about it much after that. Trevor did two marathons after me and I had no interest in training for and completing another one. We did lots of shorter runs - half marathons, 10ks, but the marathon was uninviting to me. I would go watch friends finish their marathons and feel the excitement of the people who were doing it. I would see how happy they were about their accomplishment and I would tear up because I really didn't feel that when I ran my marathon. I didn't feel that sense of accomplishment that I saw in people's eyes as they crossed the finish line.
This last year, for the first time, I thougth that maybe I'd like to do another marathon. One thing led to another and now Trevor and I are coaches for the marathon training group - Portland Fit. Between the marathon training and the Ironman 70.3 training, I've had lots of time to think. I've thought back on my marathon experience. I have realized that what I gained that day was the ability to see things as possible. Once you do something that you always thought impossible, everything changes. That I like. I like the way my thinking shifted during that time. But I don't like who I was on that day. Even now, I don't like it.
So, reading Jeff's words really hit home for me. When he said "when you don't like what you find, determine to do something about it." I think that is what this whole Ironman/marathon quest is about. At least part of what it is about. I have finally, after all these years, determined to do something about it. I am going to experience this marathon different. I am going to experience the triathlon different.
There are things I don't like about myself and maybe if I can change this one thing, I can change those things too. I feel one step closer to making sense out of all these things I am wanting these days. Taking stock. Its a tough thing to do. But it must be done. So that's what I'm doing. We'll see where that leads me.