“Plow ahead.” “Rock on.” “Keep on truckin’.” There are many different versions of this handy little catchphrase that drive us through life…drive us down bumpy roads, past unplanned inconveniences, through unexpected turmoil. We’ve all been there.
The endurance athlete…lives there. Thrives there. Belongs there.
Now, when confronted with all the crap that seeks to derail us on our journeys, both in our lives and in our training, some just want to distract themselves. They chat with friends during their runs, they hide in their iPods, some just stick to their trusty treadmill behind the TV.
“Don’t think about the soreness,” some suggest. “It takes my mind off what’s bothering me,” chime others. “I just get bored,” I’ve heard. The idea is to not think about what is confronting you – pretend it’s not there or take your mind off of it – and keep rollin’.
Of course, I do understand the camaraderie between runners. I love getting out there with my runnin’ buddies, and I will sometimes take to an untrafficked path with Marine Corps cadences ringing through my ears as a pacing exercise. It’s not that this is always bad; not in the least.
But I just can’t move forward by pretending what’s behind me…isn’t. That’s not for me. I don’t work that way, not in life and not in my running. I can’t win…hell, I can’t even fight…my pulled muscles and broken past if I have to put it all out of my mind to get started. I learn nothing from running around the fire; I learn from running through it.
That’s where I feel the greater sense of execution and fulfillment. Not in moving forward, pretending that hurts don’t hurt or heartbreak doesn’t happen…but doing so with the threat of that past agony and misery in full view…and moving forward anyway.
I was reminded of this on the morning of January 1, 2011 after finishing the New Year’s 5-Mile Run at White Rock Lake in Dallas, Texas. Surrounded by runners, shaking out the holiday cobwebs, it was a way to dig my spurs into my own sides and get this horse out the door and into a new year.
I ran hard and finished strong, gettin’ a little completion buzz from a race well run. As I walked off the run, catching my breath, glad to have the new year rollin’, the street sign on the corner caught my eye.
I was standing on the corner of Northwest Highway and…Goforth.
It’s what we do.