Saturday, February 10, 2018

Beginning Again (and again and again and again)

For a yoga teacher, I'm sometimes a very inflexible person.  I can get extremely agitated, impatient, and ridiculously bent out of shape when faced with obstacles and detours in my path.  Injury, illness, obligations - these things have come and knocked my plans off the shelf many times. 

I always seem to have a sense that someday they won't - similar to the arrival fallacy in happiness research. (I'll be happy once I...fill in the blank).  It's that sense that someday I'll get to my starting line, and it'll be the last starting line I ever have because I'll go on a smooth, uninterrupted, lifelong streak of good health and complete control over my schedule.

I'm almost embarrassed to write that because it's so unbelievably laughable.

Life is interruption, chaos, disappointment, and adapting to what gets thrown at you.  It could be something profoundly huge and life altering like cancer, or something not so profound like a temporary injury or illness.  Pregnancy and new parenthood is a great way to introduce utter chaos and throw your expectations out the window.  Achieving your goal can be what sends you back to a place of beginning again - unless you're a professional athlete, you're probably not going to pop back up and run 18 miles the week after completing a marathon.  You back off, recover, and if it's still your passion - you begin again.

Even something like a work, family, or friend emergency that takes up time that you'd previously blocked up as yours will throw you off your best laid plans, your carefully drawn path, and in my case, your painstakingly OCD race training plan.  Time passes, fitness gets lost, and you're back to square one.

Is it the end of the world?  Of course not.  But for me at least, it is a lesson that needs to be learned over and over and over again, and a mental resilience and adjustment that constantly feels new.  I can get so rigid in my desires and expectations that I sometimes fall apart in the face of these adversities instead of sitting back and surrendering to circumstances out of my control - riding out the wave until I can grasp the reins again and take back over, at least for awhile.

I'm about to officially start training for what I hope to be a year of racing triumphs - the Brooklyn Half Marathon on May 19th, and my long awaited shot at the New York City Marathon on November 4th, both with my work wife and sole-sister Laura Frye by my side (check out her awesome YouTube channel to follow her running adventures!).  More than in any previous year, I'm building in injury prevention strategies to keep myself strong, mobile, and on top of any nagging issues before they become bigger issues.

This bout of the flu I recently recovered from pushed the start date two weeks, and it also (re)taught me the invaluable lesson that applies not just to fitness but pretty much everything - life requires the serenity prayer.  We need the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and most importantly, the wisdom to know the difference.  We need wisdom not to push ourselves when life is stepping in to tell us to take a different path, and we need wisdom to push ourselves when we're perfectly capable of hopping over an obstacle that shouldn't get in our way.

Life is a series of starting lines.  The closer I get to accepting that - with all due reverence to the holy Indigo Girls - the closer I am to fine.

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