Exactly eight weeks ago today I thought I had failed. Eight weeks ago today I could not even run a mile. Eight weeks ago today I was in so much pain it made it difficult to complete my job. In the words of Joseph Campbell eight weeks weeks ago today I entered the darkest part of the forest where there was no path. I believed my journey to completing the marathon was over but now I see that I simply found my own path.
On that day I gave up the idea of what I wanted the marathon to be and decided to just let it be what it was always going to be. My job was to just put one foot in front in the other and see where it would take me. So I did. I started with running for one minute and walking for one minute for a total of thirty minutes. I was embarrassed by my workout. I was embarrassed that I could not do more. I was ashamed of my own body for betraying me at the age of 29. I was mad at myself for not being intelligent enough to figure out a way to out smart my disability like I have relied on in the past.
All of those negative emotions were just that, emotions. They were just my ego’s reactions to the reality that presented itself to me. Dealing with these feelings I felt that I had two choices. Continue to ask the question of why and play further into these emotions. Or, I could sit with these emotions and let them pass. Choosing instead to focus on putting one foot in front of the other.
I changed the focus from my performance to how I was feeling. Instead of training to run the marathon at a specific time I started listening to my body and trained in a way that was best for it. Instead of training for mile times I started training for heart rate max percentages and pain free miles. I doubled down on my recovery efforts putting twice as much time into recovery activities as I did into running activities.
I pushed and pushed simply focusing on putting one front of the other, one mile after the other, one stretch after the other keeping my head focusing not he path just ahead of me. Today I finally looked up. Today I looked up from my focused attention to see the progress I have made. Eight weeks ago today I ran for one minute and walked for one minute for a total of thirty minutes. Today I ran at a steady pace for ninety minutes mostly pain free and I could not be happier. So today I celebrate the progress made so far. Looking forward into the forest where there is no path knowing that I am making my path as I go.
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