A very wise person suggested that EGO means ‘”edging grace (or God) out”. I also have a book to read titled “Ego is the Enemy”. It never ceases to amaze me that the very things that I find so irritating in other people are the exact things that I do. People that I see as “control freaks” drive me nuts….those of you who know me – well, maybe I have control issues… The list is long. I realize how grace-filled my friends and family are to tolerate me.
Wednesday was my last long training run before the marathon. I ran/walked/limped farther than I ever have before. This whole marathon training thing has been interesting – in many ways. I decided to be brave and try to do at least half without music. I wanted to see what “came up” to think about. It has taken me until today (Friday) to digest everything. Wednesday morning started early, I have discovered that it is better to start some of these endeavors before my mind and body are fully awake. As I was leaving the car to start out, my mind sort of woke up and asked “who in their right mind would get up early, to run in the cold and rain, for 24 miles? Why would you want to do this? You’ve never done this before, probably can’t, and at your age…” I adjusted the volume – or tuned it out – and started putting one foot in front of the other.
I made it over half way without music, finally turned it on so I would pick up my pace a bit. But the quiet time was good. I thought about this sign that Beth and Joe gave me – it sits out where I can see it every day. I realize that faith, trust, control, and ego are my challenges. The first two I need more of, and the last two I really need to let go. I also realized that until I can really (and I mean REALLY) like who I am, where I am at, and what I am doing; I am just spinning my wheels. I really did make it 24 miles – and instead of celebrating, I was upset that I didn’t have a better pace, that my body was sore and tired, and fretting that I might not make the time limits for the marathon. There is a window of opportunity to change the race distance for the marathon, as in drop down to a lesser distance. I thought about that while I was running. I could totally play it safe and drop back to the half marathon. I know I could finish within the time allotted. I also know that I would be disappointed in myself for taking the safe option. I would always wonder “what if”. Nope, not going to change. I realize that if I don’t make it to mile 21 by a specific time, I will be pulled off; and the same if I don’t maintain a minimum pace. I will never know if I don’t try, and even if I am pulled off the course, I will be farther ahead than by choosing the safe way. I also know that it is OK to celebrate finishing 24 slow miles, and give my body a chance to recover – after all, it has never done this before. Just wait until it finds out what I have planned for it in a couple weeks.
Fred #1 hatched and was released. Freds #2-4 will soon be emerging, and we found a few more caterpillars to watch. I think perhaps one of the grace lessons God sent me is the realization that it is time to create a chrysalis, spend some quiet time, and get ready to test some new wings. What a profound realization – to know that we have the opportunity to transform in so many ways and often in our lifetime. Unlike Fred, poor guy only has one opportunity to go from caterpillar to butterfly. God gives us unlimited opportunities to transform. Once is not enough. Each time is a chance to be better, and to realize that next time will be even more exciting. It is time to embrace the thought of building the chrysalis instead of fearing it.
Bill helped me finish on Wednesday. He did the last 4 miles with me. Around 22 miles, I really wanted to ask him to go get the car and pick me up. I know he would have encouraged me to stick it out first, but he would have let me stop if I really thought I needed to. I did some soul-searching and somewhere deep inside, I found a much younger version of my red-headed self. She was sitting cross-legged, finger pointing and saying “No – you will not quit. Prove them wrong – you can finish, you can do this.” So I did, and I am thankful. Grateful that I am sore and tired, because I know that I am stronger than I have ever been, and not as strong as I have the potential to be. Whatever the outcome of the marathon, it will push me farther than I have ever been, and make me wonder how much farther I can go.
You have the same opportunities. Maybe it’s time to build your chrysalis? During your “quiet time”, consider what your next challenge or transformation might be. Summon your inner child and discuss dreams. Make a play date – and keep it! I’m going to try, and I’m going to rely on my friends and family with their limitless grace to keep me on task.