I’ve been talking about getting my medals out of their shoe box for a while now — putting them on display so that not only will I be regularly reminded of what I’ve achieved, but my daughters will be too. You know, showing them that fitness is important, that if you put the time and the effort in you can achieve your goals, that sort of thing.
So, for my birthday a few weeks ago, my husband got a wicked-awesome wall hanger made for my race medals. It’s a two-foot long medal bar, with one big bold word bolted across the top: “PERSISTENCE”.
It’s a great word really. It sums up us runners pretty exactly.
Because, no matter if you’re like Reid Coolsaet with no body fat, innate talent and striving to break records and get to the Olympics or, if you’re like me, carrying that extra baby weight since before you actually had babies and working like hell to make it to mid-pack mediocrity, we all have to persevere to do what we do. We persevere through bitter cold and extreme heat, long training runs and speed sessions, injuries and mental set-backs, family issues and job stress. And that’s just to get to the starting line.
But lately, I’ll admit, persistence hasn’t been my strong suit. Unless of course you count persistently avoiding my sneakers, this blog and the idea of getting back into marathon training mode.
So, I’ve had to look elsewhere for inspiration – because sometimes us runners need to be persistently kicked in the pants before we get back into it – and boy did I find it.
What I didn’t tell you guys when I wrote about my Toronto Marathon experience is that one of my main training buddies, Alison, ran with me. She was with me for the great first half of the race and she was with me when my fingers went numb and the cursing began. She was with me until about kilometer 34. That’s when she fell a couple steps behind and that’s where I assumed she stayed. Until that is, when I crossed the finish line and couldn’t find her.
Turns out, she nearly fainted at the 35km water stop and was pulled out. To say she was disappointed would be a colossal understatement. But Alison picked herself up, dusted off her mental wounds (She’s a-okay health wise) and a month later, in extreme heat, finished the St.Catherine’s marathon.
Yesterday, I was in Peterborough, Ont, watching my husband finish his second triathlon.
His effort was impressive, but there were a dozen or so blind athletes competing in the sprint and half Ironman categories who in my eyes win the prize. These guys and gals swam, surrounded by hundreds of people, in open water with a rope tied to their guides for 750m or 2km, biked up to 90km on tandem bicycles and then ran either 5km or 21km with the same rope between them.
Holy Sh**. Persistence.
Growing up my mum had this famous Calvin Coolidge quote posted on our fridge:
“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
I’m 98% sure my running isn’t going to help solve the major problems of the human race (I’m always 2% hopeful that it might), but it does persistently help solve the problem of my muffin top. So I’m taking a page from Alison, my husband and the blind triathletes and I’m pressing on.
Tomorrow, my run calendar calls for intervals. Awesome.
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