on endurance and burning and such

what is to give light must endure burning.
       -viktor frankl

a couple months ago, i ran the Indy Mini-Marathon with a friend.  while 13.1 miles always seems like a daunting task, all the pre-race energy was enough to make the first several miles seem as though they were flying by.  the middle began to drag a bit, but was still filled with a level of excitement.  it was really the end when time seemed to slow to almost a crawling pace, and that next marker seemed days away.

you see, every mile in this race is marked by a giant orange number you can see from almost 1/2 a mile away.  when you get a glimpse of it, you feel encouraged that the end, at least of that mile, is close.  but when you don’t see it, and you’re really, really ready for it, it can have a devastating effect.

it was about the 10 1/2 mile mark that my friend’s knee just wouldn’t have this running thing anymore.  we slowed, and i could sense, especially as the 11 mile mark was nowhere in sight, that we were mentally self-defeating.  just then the phrase, “stay present” came to mind.  i repeated over and over to myself, then began saying it outloud to my friend. 

stay present…stay present…

this helped us to focus on the very moment we were in, how our bodies were responding to the running, the people around us who needed encouraging.  and we finished, running all the way through the line.

that lesson has stayed with me, especially now, as all seems to crumbling around me.  stay present.  i’ll admit, a move and a break-up, within just a couple days of one another, have me reeling to an extent.  then training school is just two weeks from today, when we will be traveling to Toronto.  the future seems unknowable.

stay present…

much around me is not understandable right now.  i can only assume that it must be an extreme refinement process, as things i’ve come to value very much are no longer a part of me.  i am weak and exhausted with the change and grief, but the quote above comes to mind, and i can only hope that I am still giving light.

staying present, especially right now, ultimately gives me sanity.  if i don’t reflect (too much anyway) on what i’ve lost, don’t focus on how little of the future i can control, i can find peace.  i find the sweet reward of a long run, the beauty in the city as i pass it on my way to work, the comfort of voices in the kitchen, the joy in hearing a song i love while i’m working.  if i can just stay right here, i’ll be ok.

by the time i recognize this moment,
this moment will be gone…

   -john mayer


One thought on “on endurance and burning and such

  1. Of all the blogs you’ve written, this is my favorite. And not because you used a John quote (although you did pick the two perfect quotes for this one). Keep in mind, you’re never, ever alone in what you feel. Like Ray Liota said in Field of Dreams, “There are others, you know?” Think of it as safety in numbers.

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