Friday, November 11, 2011

Start and Go!

The hare should have won the race. After all, he had everything going for him: initiative, speed, good intentions. He had the kind of excitement that seizes all of us when we start out fresh, setting goals or writing New Year’s resolutions. Everything is easy at first. It’s after the excitement wears off and a little boredom creeps in that our attention wanders.

Laziness. Procrastination.

Call it what you will. It’s important to start. But what’s most important to the process is sticking with it. Take my marathon for instance. I followed a training plan for four and a half months, walking in the heat of summer, taking my long walks on Saturdays when the heat and humidity were both in the nineties, chalking it up to training. One August walk lasted until after 1am because I wanted to avoid the rain, beginning a sixteen mile walk at 9pm.

I wasn’t looking for speed – I knew my pace would be fine. The day of the race dawned rainy and cool. I packed with extra care, taking two pairs of socks in case mine got wet, protein bars for fuel, my iPod, phone, and sunglasses. (I am an optimist.) I wore cotton gloves to keep my hands warm and a hooded rain jacket that I could tie around my waist if need be.

Picking up my registration packet on the Saturday before the race was dramatically different this year than last. Last year, registered for the half-marathon, I felt like I was walking in a daze. Everything seemed surreal. This year I felt energized and confident – fully prepared for 26.2. At mile 11, I ended up with a severe charley horse that stopped me in my tracks. Walking through the muscle spasm’s pain slowed my pace. I had the option to quit. I did not quit. I walked, sometimes limping, sometimes grimacing, but ended up getting to the finish line while the clock was still up.

It doesn’t have to be a marathon. It can be writing a book or writing a poem. Painting a picture or starting a diet. Take a lesson from the hare and begin with speed and excitement. More importantly, take a lesson from the tortoise. Keep going. Imagine yourself crossing the finish line or seeing your book on the shelf at your favorite bookseller. Whatever your dream, keep heading toward it until you can wrap your arms around your accomplishment and say, “I did it!”

3 comments:

Patricia Kiyono said...

Amen! Thanks for the analogy, Sharon. The excitement of writing a book wears off pretty quickly. It's sticking to it that's difficult.

Tess Grant said...

Congrats on that marathon! You're right--to accomplish things you just have to keep going.

T L Doezema said...

I really enjoyed this. Both as a runner and a writer. :)