Wednesday, March 6, 2013

You Are Braver Than You Believe

“Promise me you'll always remember: You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Christopher Robin to Pooh  ~ A.A. Milne
As the Boston Marathon quickly approaches there's the annual hullabaloo among runners surrounding all things Boston  - in real time and on the interwebs - Boston chatter will be reaching a fevered pitch. I remember watching, witnessing, running friends prepare for Boston 2011 and then vicariously joining them, longingly, on their journey to Beantown. And then a sudden feeling, an impulse, hit me square between the eyes - I want to do that - but I'm not good enough - am I???

That thought planted a seed, started something that was both good and bad, exciting and terrifying, and I secretly set out to do it. Or, I would secretly find out I couldn't do it - but that would remain my little secret and, perhaps, my little shame if I failed...

Reflecting on this, I've changed my feelings on all that...and at the same time I haven't.

Then the other day a friend was feeling down in the dumps. Watching the build up to Boston, watching friends train and plan, she said:  'It's in my face all day, every day...I'm not good enough. :( " I know this feeling. I've been there. 

And the fact is that there are always some goals we will reach and other we will fall short of. That's the risk of trying, of reaching, of dreaming. But it's the reaching that matters. It's the effort that matters. It's the life, the energy.  We LIVE in the pursuit of what is best in ourselves.

And the fact is that I am still in the exact place where my friend finds herself - I still have many many other goals. Those may never be reached, but they keep me excited about trying and sometimes they take me pretty dang far even if I don't get there - or they lead me down a new road I had not seen or been aware of before. 

But the real issue here is: What's the alternative? We can all set our sights nice and safe and low, and achieve them all, pat ourselves on the back for achieving things that really didn't demand much from ourselves and never know what we could really do (This does allow us to lie to ourselves - "Oh I could do that if I tried." or "I could do that if I wanted to." Baaaa). Or - or - we can go for the wildly outrageous, crazy, pie-in-the-sky goals that get our spines tingling. 

On the other side of the hullabaloo equation, there is the regrettable response, or backlash, to all that is Boston - a reaction (and reaction is always dictated by something outside of yourself - it's not creative - it offers nothing new) instead of an action. Instead of aiming high and perhaps failing, they dismiss the whole enterprise: Who cares about that stupid, over-hyped, elitist race? Who needs Boston? 

Well, who needs any of it?? - Who needs marathons, or 10ks, or 5k, or that jog around the block without stopping for the first time? Who needs any of it? Why waste your life reaching for things you may never get? 

Why? Because, as Socrates put it so well back in 399 BCE, "Not life, but good life, is to be chiefly valued."

I am reaching for new goals, and I may not achieve them, but it would really be a shame, for my life, if I did not try. If I don't succeed I will not be ashamed. In the trying I am doing. In not trying I am doing nothing. That is not the life for me. 


  1. I like this quote from Scott Jurek "Fear is what makes you come alive, the lure of the unknown — can I do this? — that's where the growth comes from." :)

  2. This post gave me goosebumps. Thank you for re-inspiring me. Oddly when I reached a never-could've-imagined running goal, I *still* didn't believe I was actually "good enough" to have done that. Crazy, right?!

    1. Ahhhh. The "fluke" problem. I've heard so many runners achieve their goals and respond - Yes, but that was just a fluke. Another post...

  3. That's such a good post. Everytime I run a marathon, I base it on a BQ. I've been fortunate and will be running Boston for the 3rd time but it takes work and ... luck. Let's face it, our physical abilities are dictated by our genes. But that doesn't mean we are any better or worse than the next person. Whether a runner is at a 11 min/mile pace or a 6 min/mile pace, it's the same effort. With hard work and perseverance we can get better. No, we won't break the tape but we can make ourselves proud and that's the only person we care about right? - ourself.
    I read a quote the other day: A 12 minute mile is better, any way you look at it, than 12 minute on the couch in front of the TV.

    :) Keep running for the enjoyment.

  4. This is great.. thank you! What I struggle with is comparing my goals with those of others, and I know I shouldn't. My goals are my own.. and from my perspective.. they scare me... but they also drive me. My goals may be not much of a challenge to many, but they are mine.. and I'll go after them :-) Great post!

  5. I just read this again and shared it with a friend! :)


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