Months of training with just weeks to go, you’ve been pushing hard. Through cold winter days, getting up at the crack of dawn, you strive to get that mileage in. Then the moment every runner fears, at first you’re in denial, “I just need to stretch” you think, but stretching doesn’t help. That feeling is more than a sore muscle; you know you’ve injured something and just weeks before the big race. No amount of denial or running through it is going to make any difference, this injury threatens months of preparation. Frustrated, you reach out to your running buddies, many of which have been in this exact place themselves, wondering if its going to heal soon enough for race day.
Disappointment is part of life but it doesn’t need to take you to the point of despair if you start to consider things from a broader perspective. Times of trial can actually be some of the greatest growing opportunities in our lives. Here’s a few things to consider when disappointment comes knocking.
- Refine Your Discipline – A wise person takes into account the information at hand and the advice of those they trust and applies that to actions. A foolish one, on the other hand, knows the right thing to do yet ignores that altogether and does the opposite or and pays dearly for it in the long run. Discipline as we run our race gives us a tactical advantage often overlooked by our competition. Be smart enough, even brave enough to do what you know to be the right thing.
- Others Centered – One reoccurring area I greatly enjoy about the running community is their ability to encourage one another. Coming to a point of realizing you’ll miss a race you’ve been training for gives you a chance to model exceptional sportsmanship. How rare in today’s sporting community to see this characteristic come out yet once you see it, you’ll never forget it. Take a moment of injury and turn it on its head as an opportunity to encourage and support others in your running community. These actions will speak louder than any words from the winner’s podium.
- Press On – The ability to pick up the pieces and continue moving forward is a great attribute of ones character. Moments like these tend to be times you’ll reflect on later in life and use as examples to help others down the road. Life is always about more than a single race; it’s about the ability to press on through trials towards the greater things of life.
Consider this moment in time, you may be overcoming an injury, some type of disappointment or setback so what will you make of this time? Consider turning it into an incredible opportunity to grow and model maturity to others in your sphere of influence. Nothing is by chance and making the most of what could be considered a misfortune might just yield the greatest moment of satisfaction in your life and be a point of inspiration for others.
Run the Race…
“What should we do for dinner” were the words that started the whole thing. After a long workweek, Friday was finally here and it just seemed fitting to go out for a nice meal. My daughter wanted Mexican food, my wife craved Italian but I was the driver and after changing our minds a half dozen times I decided to take my girls for the treat of a life time, the Chinese Super Buffet in neighboring Frisco, TX. I had eaten at this place a number of years ago and remembered the food was pretty good. They had all the classics, Orange Chicken, Hot and Sour soup, fried rice and other yummy goodness.
You know, the thing about a buffet is you’re going to pay an arm and a leg to eat but you eat to your hearts content. This was exactly what was going through my mind as my stomach grumbled on the drive over to the Super Buffet.
We were shown our seat and pointed in the direction of heat lamps and mountains of tasty food. Minutes later my daughter returned with a plate full of California Rolls, extra points noted, this buffet had a sushi bar. My wife had an assortment of tasty goodness and my selection, well I think this is where I started to reconsider if this was such a good idea after all. I initially went right to a huge mound of pot stickers and spareribs but then I thought, well Greg, you might start with a simple salad. I diverted my course to a serving area containing all things salad bar. The few of us circling this area all seemed to have a similar look on our face. My mind was thinking, hey have a little salad before you embark upon the Ho Chi Minh trail of Asian cuisine. As I ate my salad, I was thinking ok, let’s get this over so you can get on with the good stuff. Two minutes later I had eaten the salad and was heading back towards the heat lamps and Asian delights.
Like a hawk, spotting its pray from afar, I knew I had those tasty fried wontons on my radar along with spare ribs, chicken and some sort of spicy beef thing, it all looked good and I was anticipating trying it all. Finishing off that plate, I was just starting to get into the rhythm of this feast and a number of more plates quickly followed. Finally I was done, licking the spoon as to not waste one morsel of the ice cream, it was finished.
My God, I am really full I told my wife Cindy. I think we had all stuffed ourselves, making sure that we each got our $12.95 worth of food out of this place. As we shuffled back to the car, I started to consider when the last time I had been so full, when had I last pigged out like this? I couldn’t exactly remember but I knew it had been quite a long time ago, well before I had started Weight Watchers a few years back. Oh my gosh, had I fallen off the food wagon so to speak. It had dawned on me that I had learned to really cut my eating portions down as a part of what I had learned in my weight loss program. How easily I allowed the “Old Man” to come out for a visit to the local Chinese Buffet and eat to his heart content.
The next morning came early as I started to get suited up for my 7am running program at the local Luke’s Locker. The scale had said it all, just up over three pounds in a single week, no help from the Chinese feast the night before. I had let my guard down and now I had to pay the piper in the hill work I was about to participate in with my running group.
The years of hard work and transition had been lost for a fleeting moment and honestly not worth obsessing over with the exception to reflect how easily it can be to let ones guard down and revert to habits that don’t add much value to life. It had taken decades to get to the place I had arrived a number of years ago until I came to the realization that I needed to get things under control. Life is full of bumps in the road; they lead us back to places better left in the past. The “Old Man” (or Woman if that is your case) at times can blind us too much hard work and discipline it took to better ourselves.
So take a second look out the peephole when that knock comes to the door and tries to lead you back to a place you once had been. Have family and friends that you genuinely trust help you move in the right direction and encourage you when temptation comes knocking. When you stumble, get up and continue down the narrow road to a better life for yourself and those you love.