When I watched (through tears) Desi Linden cross the finish line of the Boston Marathon yesterday after battling the wind, rain and her own self-doubts for 26.2 miles, I knew what I would have to write about this week. Then she provided the perfect quote:
“Some days it just flows and I feel like I’m born to do this, other days it feels like I’m trudging through hell. Every day I make the choice to show up and see what I’ve got, and to try and be better. My advice: keep showing up.”
As runners, we know the importance of showing up. We show up at races, at training runs, and at other fitness activities to help keep us in shape for running. We show up at 5:30 a.m. to get a run in before work and at 11:00 p.m. on New Year’s Eve because we are 5 miles short of our mileage goal for the year. We show up at trail races, where we run through icy mountain streams in January and on city streets where we dodge traffic and other pedestrians just to get our run in. We also show up in other, more important areas of our lives.
We know the importance of showing up in our relationships, too. My husband and I have been married nearly 40 years (we got married when we were 8!) Some days in our marriage have felt like a slog up Heartbreak Hill (yes, I went there), and some days feel like the endorphins are flowing and we are on a runner’s high. But we keep showing up, day after day and year after year.
We show up for our children. There were days when my boys were little, that if a band of Gypsies had passed by at an opportune time, I swear I would have sold them for very little money. I was certainly not the perfect mother, but they all know that I would do anything for them, and if needed, I would hop on a plane at a moment’s notice to be with them.
We show up at our jobs. I was a teacher for over 30 years. I had many, many moments where I questioned my effectiveness and my dedication. There were times when I asked myself “What am I doing?” Then the boy who was sullen and mistrustful at the beginning of the year would give me a thank you note in June, in which he would tell me I was his favorite teacher and he looked forward to coming to my class each day. That was enough to keep me showing up for a long time.
We show up for our friends, in our faith, for our extended families. I am not sure whether being a runner makes us more likely to show up time after time, or if, because we are the type of person who constantly shows up, we are drawn to the sport of running. Either way, we are known for our dedication (stubbornness?) and perseverance. We know if we show up, and keep showing up, we have a chance to win, but if we don’t show up, we have no chance. We don’t really expect to strike gold on our first try. Desi Linden won under brutal conditions on Monday, because she is the ultimate plugger, because she knows the importance of just showing up. As she Tweeted after her win:
I am linking up with Holly from HoHo Runs and Wendy from Taking the Long Way Home for their Weekly Wrap. Join me there for some fabulous fitness blogs! I am also linking up with Patty, Erika and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run. Love these running-related blogs!