It will not be easy, and I cannot wait.
I was talking to a friend a few months ago.
Rather than ask ‘why?’ or give me a puzzled look he seemed genuinely interested. He told me that he thought running was one of those things that he could really enjoy if he just figured it out.
I told him that keeping that mentality made him a runner already.
Running takes more mental strength than physical.
The Finish Line of 2015
As I look back at the adventure that was 2015, I almost cannot believe everything that happened.
I had work stress to deal with, family issues, marital problems, and personal limitations to overcome. I lost my grandfather, the original Winged Ling, who meant so much to me and influenced me in so many ways.
I tripped and I kicked rocks.
I dove head first into the river of doubt.
I was overcome with moments of sadness and self-pity.
The tides of time, however, bring change to the sands of life.
I had periods of happiness and elation.
I had, and continue to have, love and support.
I moved with confidence.
The Starting Line of 2016
Running – be it ultra, trail, road, track or whatever – it all comes down to the strength of the spirit rather than the strength of the body.
“Life’s battles don’t always go to the strongest or fastest man,
But sooner or later the man who wins is the fellow who thinks he can.”
– Steve “Pre” Prefontaine
Here is my spin on the “running is like life” cliche:
When I put on my running kit, I am born again.
When I run, I am alive.
I overcome the challenges that present themselves and I move as strong, as light, and as quick as I am able to. I try to move with efficient consistency, going fast when I must, and taking time to pause when it is due.
The reality, however, is this is not always the case. Things do not always go as planed. I blow up, I injure myself, I push too hard, or make costly mistakes. Sometimes I loose focus and find myself sidelined wondering what I am doing, or where I am headed.
Pushing myself on the trail offers me a way to find the signal in the noise, while testing my limitations and breaking boundaries.
Forging myself in the crucible of my own design is an imperfect process, and every mile, every race, and every day is a new attempt at being a better me.
Finishing a race is an amazing experience. Crossing the finish line after you have given it your all – be it 100 meters or 100 miles – is a moment to cherish, but not one to linger on.
Having a good day, from finding extra change in the sofa, to getting a raise, or even holding your new daughter on the day of her birth, is a championship occasion – but tomorrow may not be.
Finishing First Overall or setting a new PR is a high point, but the next race may bring lows.
The true test of spirit, is in bringing yourself to the starting line again, to face it all again – Being able to finish strong, turn around, and do it all over again.
2015 was an intense year.
2016 won’t be easy, but it will be a journey I will enjoy.
Thank you to my wife, my children, and my parents. Thank you to my friends, and strangers who shared moments with me. It really has been a rush.
I can’t wait to see what lies around the bend.
Run on, run long, run strong, and always run happy.
– The Winged Ling