Some people believe the future is written; I prefer to believe that the future is completely dependent our ability to focus and create.
There are many times in our lives that we are presented with situations that we can choose to accept or reject. It is not however as simple as just saying, sorry but no I don’t accept that my leg is broken or that my house is on fire. Obviously things can happen that make us feel we are powerless to change them, but really, we always retain the power to change the way we respond to a situation.
So, if your leg is broken, you can accept that you will be incapacitated for a time and resign yourself to the couch. Or, you can reject that incapacitation and focus on the fact that your arms are fine and that this is a great chance to take up Kayaking.
Personally I can think of countless times that things have not gone to plan or worked out the way I had hoped. For me, my ability to turn lemons into lemonade has no doubt been the reason I’ve been able to get to where I am today. I still have a long way to go in every area of my life, but I am determined to make the best of every situation.
From a running point of view, I rarely have an ideal lead up to a race. I know exactly what I need to do to turn up in the absolute best physical condition that I can, but this requires certain sacrifices that at this point I’m unwilling to accept. It would require me to spend less time with my young family, it would require me to spend less time working on my businesses (which support my family) and it would require me to give up even more sleep than I currently do and be less effective in all other areas of my life. These are choices I do not make lightly, but they are choices that I make so that I can maintain a level of balance in my life.
The next running challenge on my calendar is the Buffalo Stampede and my preparation for this race started out strong but has recently begun to waiver due to other areas of my life requiring more of me. Once again, I’m faced with the choice to accept or reject this situation. I could accept that I will be underdone and pull out. I could accept that I haven’t trained as much as I’d like and get depressed that I have wasted a good opportunity OR I can reject it. I can reject that my opportunity to enjoy this race has been lost and reject that my less than ideal preparation has destroyed my campaign. This is the choice I make. I know that without the shadow of a doubt that my greatest strength in my running is not my physical fitness, it is my ability to recognise a situation for what it is, and choose to make it something else.
At Buffalo Stampede this year, I will be going into the 75km race with the knowledge that I can cover that distance, because I’ve run that far before, but more importantly because the journey and experience is worth more to me than running fast. I will look at the mountain from the bottom and not see hours of impending pain, but instead I’ll see the chance to test myself in a situation that I AM CERTAIN will stretch my boundaries. I will look down from the top of the mountain and not see the hours of quad pounding to come, but instead I’ll see an opportunity to feel like I’m flying over a landscape that is far removed from everyday life.
I know the experience is going to hurt. I know that at times I’ll want to stop. I know that I’ll wish I had somehow found more time to train. I also know that the pain will never be bad enough to make me quit. I know that no matter how hard I find it, there will be moments of joy that will be worth the effort. And I know that when I cross the finish line, I will have confirmed once again that anything is possible if you choose to reject instead of accept.
P.S. This article is dedicated to our boys Dave and Dan and everyone else over in New Zealand that just had their 100km Tarawera Ultra shortened due to cyclonic weather. It doesn’t matter guys, just go out there and make lemonade!