On Monday, we, as a nation, honored the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I could probably fill up my journal with his inspiring words; however, I wanted to focus on one that rings true for me, and hopefully others with strong desires and a willingness to fight through the pain and suffering – whether in sport or in life.
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Dr. King, Jr.
In his quote, Dr. King’s words evoke passion and the image of stoking the fire of your convictions and goals, and then being steadfast in working to achieve them. Dr. King was willing to endure and persevere in order to initiate change in society. He knew that change would not be immediate, but still worth the fight.
Never Give Up: This is a quote that, to me, evokes an understanding of the true meaning of never of never giving up and persevering through life’s many obstacles. As I reflect on my small piece of the world and MLK, I think about how we now live in a world of instant gratification with everything at our fingertips from a smart phone and the internet, and what that means in my life. Are we, as a people, less willing to persevere through difficulties because we no longer have the patience? I remember the days of research via a library and an Encyclopedia Britannica. I still love the feel of those hard copy books and their silky pages, but that does not mean I do not love the convenience of my Google searches. I also still love writing letters and thank you notes on beautiful paper with a fountain pen and a wax seal, yet I enjoy the ease and quickness of an email or text. In this day and age, I like to think of it as being balance – the ying to my yang.
Run, Walk, or Crawl: With that in mind, as the world gets smaller, faster and more “connected,” I see myself seeking longer training runs and longer races. The questions that pop into my head are: Is my love of ultras and Ironman a direct rebuttal against a world of instantaneousness? Do I need something in my life where the end result comes with time, distance and planning? Where work, determination, and strength of will overcomes many challenges? The stories in the news that resonate with me are ones where a person is willing to crawl to get to a finish line (Julie Moss, 1982). The concept of never giving up and fighting through the pain is not unique to ultra running and other endurance sports; however, I look at the less than 1% of the world’s population willing to “race” for 8 hours or more, and I see a group of people with such grit and determination that I smile when others put me into that same category. Whether elite or age grouper, endurance athletes know what it is like to race with cramping muscles with 20, 30, 40 or more miles to go and a brain that is telling you how much easier it would be to stop and sit down. Like Julie Moss from Ironman 1982, endurance athletes are willing to put everything on the line…to stumble and crawl to cross the finish line, just as Dr. King once said.
With that in mind, despite not having felt good for the past week (image below), I made sure I got out over the weekend in cold and snowy weather to get in the miles that will take me to a 100m finish at Umstead!