Thursday, November 24, 2011

The personal record of gratitude

Personal records (P.R.s) aren't always about times. At least in my mind, I don't see them as that narrow of a definition. Ask the experts...but I'll tell you my take today is an exception to the standard definition.
With my sister and bro in law to my left drumstick
As I crossed the finish line: a tiny un-noted dot in a crowd of perhaps 5,000 runners in the Webster Turkey Trot... I made a P.R.! The time was about the same but something was very different this year. Crossing the finish line, I felt the breeze, the sunshine, the whole moment in real time...without the fuzzy and hollow disconnect of being too exhausted. One year ago it was only a second of my first running events ever. And last year it was not  a comfortable one to run. 
Today I felt good. No pain, no shortness of breath. And all around me- perspective. 

How do you fully appreciate each day?
 When you remind yourself of the growth you've experienced to date. 
When you remind yourself to continue to celebrate this growth. 

It's easy to fall into the negative box that contains life's yet unfinished accomplishments...and easy to dread things ahead that intimidate you. But when I look at (athletically) what I can do now that I never was able to do previously, having nearly two decades of my life in some form of illness...I look up and say thanks. 

**This post was written soon after I first started running. How's that for looking back in astonishment.

I was thinking today about the person I always think of when I cross these lines. Zach. It wouldn't have been done without you, buddy. More than a year after beginning training, the concept of finish line is now a plural consideration. Without Zach's influence I wouldn't have ever believed it was in me or been just gutsy enough to try running...or anything that followed. Zach is no longer here to pump me up in person, but I carry his lesson of gratitude with me and try (for the most part) to emulate. 

Oh, and one more thing. The song that played when I crossed the finish line today? It was the song they used as my theme song at First Descents this year, called the Underdog by the band Spoon. Our awesome camp photographer Beans chose it for me. 

I faced raging rivers in July with a vessel no one else piloted with me.  And as I listen to  Beans' song again-- it reminds me of the way I used to look at things- feeling always like the underdog. No more. That cliche: you've come a long way baby, though slightly silly, it really fits a new life I'm finding. My old life is slowly peeling away, yet still remaining to guide my purpose.

Hey, there's no Flo Jo here. Make no mistake. Sometimes I can still really rock the couch potato time, but to know the definition of myself beyond it- it's everything I always imagined it would be. Zach, you WERE right.

Gratitude- pass it on.

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