Thursday, August 7, 2008

Finding the Inspiration to Keep Going

Unlike men of better character, I have always found it easy to quit. On projects. On relationships, On jobs. On myself. Yesterday morning around 5:36, I came very close to quitting on the whole stupid idea that I might ever be fit.

I had taken a week off of any workout at all. My legs hurt. I was tired and depressed and I really wanted to take one last shot at running in the 5K this weekend. Since the race is Saturday night, Wednesday morning was really my last chance to try if I was going to get two runs in before the event. Tuesday night I laid out my running clothes before bed. Wednesday the alarm went off at 5:00. I spent about 15 minutes waking up, then about 15 minutes getting ready.

Outside in the dark morning it was comfortable. There was cool in the air from the evening's rain and the streets were quiet. I walked for about five minutes. So far so good. I tried a little jog for a block.

The pain shot through my right calf and I pulled up. "That's it," I thought. "I'm done. I can't run on it if it's hurt. Hell, I probably can't run at all." I turned around and started limping back home in my clean dry shirt.

Then two of the people I had spent my weekend with caught me up short.

During her visit last week, Mom gave me a book, Keep it Simple by Terry Bradshaw. It isn't a very good book. Brad's shtick is that he's just a big dumb hick who says funny stuff. Well he is big, but he's not dumb. He probably stopped being a hick several million dollars ago, and the stuff he says is sometimes funny but sometimes it's just goofy. So no, I didn't care for his book. But by the time I was finished, I really did like him. His writing is so odd and quirky and genuine that his character delighted me much more than his style annoyed. And here's what I took away from his delightful, annoying book...
  • Life can be hard
  • Love can seem impossible
  • Keep living
  • Keep loving
  • Never give up
He talks about his divorces. There are lots of references to his transition from the Boy Wonder of little Louisiana Tech to the benched former starting quarterback of the never-won-a-thing Pittsburgh Steelers. He has been dumped by wives, booed by strangers, bullied by bosses, betrayed by teammates, and he has never given up. Instead of limping home in his clean dry shirt, he got back up and got back to work.

During the weekend's depression over not being able to run, I went looking for inspiration online and started watching YouTube videos of Lance Armstrong. Just about everyone knows his story by now. A hard charging up-and-comer, America's next great cyclist washes out at the Atlanta Olympics and learns he has cancer. A lot of cancer. 40% chance of survival type of cancer. He goes after cancer like he goes after a mountain on his bike. It tries to kick his ass. He could have limped home in his clean dry shirt. He kicked cancer's ass instead. And he's been kicking ever since.

I thought about those two brave men. They weren't better than me. They had stronger, younger muscles sure, but it wasn't muscles that got them back on their feet. It wasn't their principles or their up bringing. I was raised by good, hardworking people who taught me right and wrong. Where did their strength of character come from?


Muscles get stronger when you use them. So does courage. They chose to act courageously. They practiced persevering, staying hopeful, setting their jaws and moving their feet. And never going home until their shirt was soaked.

So that's what I did. I turned my self around and I limped till I could walk. I walked till I could jog. I jogged till I could run. And by the time I got home, my stinky soggy shirt told the story. Three miles before breakfast. Then a long cold soak in a tub of ice water. Ahhhh...

I have decided to take the advice of two guys I got to hang out with this weekend.

Keep it Simple
Live Strong

No comments:

Post a Comment

Label Cloud

mrs p Cancer running lifting weights LIVESTRONG at the YMCA treadmill weight nutrition depression God Living Strong at the Y injury YMCA dogs mom walking radiation Weight Lifting cardio friends program theatre body fat long slow run love One for the Five aches elliptical race resistance bands stretching 5K Acting Jeff Galloway chemo doctor family mental health Church Pittsburgh Marathon bluegrass fundraising inspiration patience personal trainer recovery Flying Pig Marathon Jesus Johns Striders Race Report Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon bipolar frustration kentucky knees measurements morning promatx yoga Christmas Marathon Pennsy's Greatest Hits cats clothes heart rate hope lance armstrong life molly poetry rest side effects steelers swimming 10K Actors' Guild of Lexington Blog CT Scan Coach Carrie PET Scan cross training exercise fear feeling good groin healing ice cream livestrong nausea powerlifting run/walk/run stair climber surgery Cancer Fighter Cold Gear Hills Iron Horse Half-marathon Job LSR Mum Nike+ Shamrock Shuffle 3K achilles advent arboretum bmi bodyweight exercises changes charity circuit training cycling dad deadlift diabetes encouragement experts give up goals horses interval training jake kettlebells lean body mass new rules of lifting pacing personal best plateau prayer recumbent bike research shoes sleep strength teeth therapist toe video Blood Easter Endurance Funeral Garmin 405 Homecoming House Insurance Juicing Keeneland Legacy Night PR Pennsyltucky Pittsburgh Relapse Run This Town TRX Training Values aflac arnold ben-gay bench press chafing christian compression shorts dentist dreams faith fat fatigue foreclosure good day half marathon hospitality javarunner john's run/walk shop lou schuler new year nurse pains peg tube powercage progressive resistance. racing rain rapture reboot runners world squat sun block supplements team pennsy tired weather will rogers work #3rightThings 9-11 ACSM AIDS Aquaphor Blessings Bluegrass 10K CSN Cancer Boy Cedar Hill Charles Dickens Class of 82 Classes Colby Road College Compassion Courage Crowdrise Cystoscopy Dee Diet EFM Epiphany Fall Fartlek Fat Man Fat Sick and Nearly Dead Frankfort Gadgets Gramma Grampa Gratitude Grete Waitz Guest HITT HIV Hell Holding Hands Holy Saturday Homer Horse Capital Marathon IVP Ice bath Jacuzzi James Taylor Jesus wept Joe Cross John Izzo Joy KY LaDonna Leg Day Lent Lessons Lexington Little Pennsy Mental hospital Midsummer Night's Run Mindfulness MobileFit Negative Splits Old Frankfort Pike Pilates Podrunner Pre-race Priorities RICE Railrunner 10 Miler Random thoughts Resurrection Reunion Run Bob Run Run Report Run Review Run for the Gold 3K Running Form Running for Sabrina STUPID Shakespeare Skip Brown Speed Spinning Summer Of Speed Sunrise Supersets Tao Te Ching Thank You The Wall Three Right Things Toxic Passenger UK UK basketball Urine Urologist Victory Walk of Shame Warrior Westminster Whole Foods Wind Words Zumba ace bandages addicted agony alwyn cosgrove america anger antibiotic anxiety awake back baseball blood clots blood pressure body glide bonhoeffer books brad calories chinup colonoscopy consistency crazy cycles dentures dip dr. google dumbbells elevation facebook failure farts feet fight for life fitness forgiveness frankenpennsy fun getting started glucosamine glutes goal gremlin grenz grumpy hair hamstrings hiccups high school hot ice incarnation indian food jogging john lennon joint legacy trail liniment lunges machines maker's mark medicine ball meds mercy motivation motley fool music nature neighborhood new balance nike noah numbers pennsyltuckian periodization persistence phlebitis postmodern prison professional boundaries progress psychiatrist pullups pushups quads ramble rememberance renewal road running ronnie coleman rowing safety sauna scan-ziety sexy shopping shorts shower sick sleepless snow socks spandex star trek statistics steam room steroids stiff strained muscle strap strength training supination support surgeon survive swackett swiss balls table technology tempo terry bradshaw testicular torsion text thai food that's fit the five thighs walk breaks warm up water fitness water jogging weak wedding ring wellness wife winter workout writing yardwork