Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Burning Desire

When you discover your mission, you will feel its demand. It will fill you with enthusiasm and a burning desire to get to work on it.
**W. Clement Stone**

       I'm not big on the whole New Year's resolution thing. I keep the same goals until I meet them or decided it is no longer in my best interest to pursue them and I don't tie the formation of these goals to an arbitrary calendar mark. I prefer to let them follow the course of inspiration, determination, and success. My current fitness goals are not new or surprising: Get down to my goal weight, run my first half marathon, and finish a 10K in less than an hour.
      Some goals seem to be with me forever. I've met my goal weight a few times, but it usually doesn't last and I was raised to always eat and live with the goal of loosing 10 pounds. It is often the only thing standing between me and the candy display at the checkout counter, and without this never ending goal, I'd need to loose a lot more.
      My burning desire goals, the ones that keep me inspired, working, and focused, change often. I'm always learning something new, finding inspiration, and discovering new things that I never knew existed or I never thought were in the realm of possibility for me. Growing up, I was told marathons were for crazy people that ran until they peed blood, (my mother still tells me this regularly, including last week.) I'd never heard of half marathons, I guess it never occurred to me that there was anything between a 10K and a marathon. I knew about 10Ks because my dad ran a couple, but that was in the 70's or maybe 80's. However, once I started running and realizing it wasn't has hard as I thought, I discovered new goals. As distances got easier physically, they got easier mentally too and I caught the racing bug.
       I've never been good at doing things I couldn't be the best at. As kid I quit if it wasn't easy and natural, and I definitely quit anything I couldn't master quickly. Now I'm grown up, and although I still like to be first and best, I know I'll never win a race. I joined the game much too late and am not built for speed, but I have been totally blown away at how all runners are treated as winners, even when they finish last. This game of simply setting a new PR, only competing against myself, and having a whole new group of friends that will cheer me on through the ups and downs, is so amazing to me. If running were one of those sports where you are only really welcome if you have talent or look like you fit in, I'd have given up long ago. It is the overwhelming acceptance of the running community that impresses me most. It is the only sport where the hero of the day one day can be the guy running the Boston Marathon, (hi Bruce!), and the next day it the newbie that is excited to have run a few steps for the first time, (keep up the good fight Stanley, you are doing awesome!) I'm also amazed at how effortlessly running bridges the age, gender, race, and religion gaps. When you find a group of people at an office or party chatting about running, it will be the most diverse group in the room. You also discover quickly that everyone has their Achilles Heel, some injury, or other handicap that they have to overcome to keep running. I don't think I've found a runner yet that didn't have to keep an eye on some joint or muscle or chronic condition, so that it doesn't sneak up and bite them on the backside. Runners are not quitters though. Some are following the burning desire to run, others are following the burning desire to stay in shape, get in shape, meet fitness standards for work, or just spend time on the road alone. Whatever the reason, we have all found the same modus operandi to slake our thirst and fuel our burning desire.


greentigress said...

Thank you for your beautiful, inspiring writing, I relate to your post so much! it is true that the last in the race is cheered a lot, because i was 5 minutes later than everyone else on my 10k last year... I also am not happy unless I have 10 lbs to lose, and honestly if I was not trying to keep that goal I would be 25 stone or a lot more than that.

Stan said...

Wow, this was an awesome post. Thank you. Any motivation i have lost since September just came back after reading this. Thank you for everything. It's people like you that make people like me want to be better. :)

Bosco said...

Great writing Wendy!Hope you don't mind but I’m interested in what was your main drive while crossing Catalina Channel : -)? Adventure, ocean call, curiosity, runaway, love ….. ?

Clare said...

i love the running community too. i recently volunteered at a race i ran last year and got an even BETTER feeling of acceptance and...just happiness! runners are good people.