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Posts Tagged ‘perseverance’

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As I was watching the non-stop Boston Marathon bombing coverage on Monday night, someone came on the television talking about the different phases of how people would process the events of the day. First there was confusion, then there would be fear which would finally be followed by anger.

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Yesterday I wrote about my confusion as to why one would attack long distance runners and an event like the Boston Marathon. Runners are a quirky, friendly lot; I just didn’t get it.  Speaking with a fellow Bostonian later in the morning, I compared runners to the now extinct dodo bird and the manatee.

Dodo bird? you may ask? The slow moving manatee?

We, runners, are a relatively easy going group that fears almost nothing. We’ve got our issues to be sure.  Who puts themselves through 26.2 miles of hell?  And of course, we can be pretty obsessive too.  Try talking to a marathoner for 15 minutes and I guarantee at some point they will mention running or training numbers or both.  We’ve pushed ourselves to the point of collapse over and over again.  One of our favorite posters is this:

Hell and back - 26.2 Miles

Hell and back – 26.2 Miles

…and then a lot of us go back and do it again and again and again.

So we really aren’t scared of a whole lot.

Our first thought when approached by a stranger is do they run.  Just like the dodo bird or the manatee, the marathoner has no known natural enemies – man, woman, tall, short, skinny, not so skinny, white, black, yellow, brown, red, blue, purple, religious, non-religious, right or left, gay or straight, wealthy or poor, disabled or not, blond, brunette, ginger…we. don’t. care.  We’re just happy if you want to join our band of runners.  We welcome everyone.

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But I have now gone through the confusion stage, flown past the fear stage and have landed square in the middle of the anger stage.

I am now pissed off.

This dodo is MAD!!!

I saw this on my friend Laura’s open letter to runners, non-runners and even the asshat (my name for the bomber).

...yeah...wicked smaht asshat!

…yeah…wicked smaht asshat!

I thought, yeah!  We will get you MotherF***er!

During my run last night I could feel my anger bubbling over as I flew through a short 3-miler.  Before getting home I knew what picture I was going to post for my daily Instagram #AutismStreaks entry.  It was going to be my middle finger on my chest; a message to the asshat.  A “take that Motherf***er!”  

I was so friggin’ mad.

But then I took a breath.  I was still mad.  I was still angry. I still AM mad.  I still AM angry.  But I wasn’t going to let this guy win.  So I post this instead:

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#AutismStreaks Day 106 – a message to the asshat: we will persevere – it is who we are, it is what we do! 3.0 miles, 20:33, 6:51 pace.

Yes.  Perseverance is what we marathoners do.  We are patient.  We are focused.  We are relentless.  We are calculating.  We are like water in that we just. keep. coming.

It is who we are.

It is what we do.

 

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A lot of people have tried to change their unhealthy lifestyles into healthy ones – whether it is changing the way they eat or starting a new exercise regimen, the goal is the same: becoming a healthier, stronger, happier person.

Without fail, those people stumble; they fall off the wagon and pig out on junk food, smoke a pack of cigarettes or sit on the couch for a week. An overwhelmingly large percentage of those people will then decide that they’ve failed in their attempt to change and meekly go back to their unhealthful ways.

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Cue open palm slap to forehead!

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I’m here to tell you that stumbling is good; that failure is the path to success. If you don’t fall off the wagon early on in your attempt to change, then you’re doing a disservice to yourself.

As humans we need to overcome obstacles. The greater the obstacle, the greater the satisfaction when we achieve our goal; the more precious we feel our accomplishments.

If change were always easy, it wouldn’t be worth it. So when we fail for an hour, a day, or a week, we are only adding to the greatness of our eventual success.

And that is what we MUST believe in – our eventual success. Because whether you fail for an hour or a day or a week, if you can get back up, dust yourself off and begin moving forward again toward that goal of a healthier, stronger, happier you, then you are not defeated.

Am I espousing purposeful failure? Heavens No!!! But I am advocating not giving in to failure; not being afraid of failure – because I believe that ultimately you must fail to truly succeed.

If you fall of your wagon, grab your totem, take a deep breath and start anew.

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