The spreadsheet taped inside the cabinet gives me my daily training assignment. For the 16 weeks since the end of base, I’ve gotten my orders and, whether I was happy about it or not, knocked it out. Each day, with a “mission accomplished” and a nod from me, my girls would grab a Sharpie and cross out the day’s goal. Some days I’d even scribble a time in there or something to remind me about that particular run to serve as motivation for the next time it came around.
When I swung open the door today, I stopped for the first time in weeks to really soak it in. When I first hung it there, it looked so ominous.
Four runs per week.
Two days of alternate training.
One day of rest.
16 weeks ago that seemed like a pipe dream.
Today, that once simple white paper with the black text looks like a unicorn exploded and took Rainbow Brite with it. Day after day and run after run, the task given was marked complete with a simple swipe of Technicolor ink. 16 weeks of challenges accepted and conquered.
My eyes smiled as they focused on the first unsaturated box.
Awwww… isn’t that cute?
Five days ago I ran 20.
48 hours later I had knocked out another 14.
I know I’m tapering for the marathon, but four seemed like such a short way to go…
Or… so I thought at the time…
It wasn’t until I was on my run that it all flooded over me.
16 weeks ago… that training plan seemed insurmountable…
Six months ago… the idea of running a marathon seemed not only implausible, but downright insane…
Six years ago… running 3.1 miles felt like it changed my world…
And just a year before that… I was a guy who probably wouldn’t be here to scoff at four miles…
That was a long way to go to get to four miles.
As I made my way around the corner and into the final stretch of my run, I felt like I was flying up the street. I pushed myself past the last few houses and broke the tape on the imaginary finish line at the end of my driveway with the type of vigor that would put Bruce Jenner’s Wheaties box to shame.
It’s so simple to try to be all motivational and say that life is not about where you were… it’s about where you are. Or, even better, take it to the next level and say, it’s not about where you were OR where you are… it’s about where you’re going! Deep, right?
Truth is… it’s about all three.
The 400 pound guy on the Xbox.
The first time 5K’er struggling to finish.
The reluctant guy hanging the training plan.
And the guy with the sore knees and the well-worn running shoes smiling at a four-miler.
I’m all of those guys. And I need all of them to run this race….
…and the marathon too.