Want To Win? Change Your Course!

Want To Win? Change Your Course!

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I felt my calf muscle twinge in pain as I come to a slow stop on the trail, sweat dripping from my chin.  I try to walk it off, but the pain is not going away.  I grumble in frustration, I’ve been here before, too often the past couple of years.

I’ve been running for as long as I can remember.  Running is part of my life, like breathing or eating.  It’s what I do, I’m a runner.  Every year I set my goals and work to achieve them.  The past couple of years, I set my sights on the Boston Marathon.  Boston is special to me, because my dad ran in it over thirty years ago, when I was still in elementary school.  Watching my dad qualify, train and then race in the Boston Marathon is what solidified my strong relationship with him and inspired me to pursue a running lifestyle

I have an 8 year old son, Ryan, who has taken to running, like I did when I was his age.  I want to pass on the passion for running to him and decided that I would participate in Boston, like my dad, so that Ryan could observe the joys of setting and achieving goals, like qualifying for Boston.  The problem is, my body is not cooperating.

I need at least four months of solid training and preparation to put together a qualifying time; however, my body breaks down and becomes injured in the middle of my training.  I’ve tried a four month training cycle three different times over the past year and every time I become injured at some point.  I completed two marathons, but missed my Boston qualifying time, because my body was nowhere close to 100%.  I’m frustrated, especially after my latest injury.

“You have a lot of scar tissue intertwined with your muscles and nerves.” The doctor states as he presses deep in my right calf muscle, sending a searing pain signal to my brain.  I could sense the beads of sweat forming on my forehead as I try to will the pain out of my body.

“Decades of running and competing is catching up to you.” The doctor remarks in a matter-of-fact tone.  “You need to make some adjustments in your training if you want to continue running.” His words sink in my heart like an unwanted houseguest.

I’ve taken my running for granted over the years and assumed that I could run anytime I wanted, for as long as I wanted, but the pain in my legs and joints are catching up to me and forcing me to reflect on my goals.  The fact is, I cannot run and compete forever and I need to ponder my options as I contemplate an active lifestyle in the next phase of my life.

Qualifying for Boston remains a goal, but I must develop an alternate plan that allows me to improve my fitness while decreasing the pounding I put on my legs.  More importantly I want to continue to connect with my son, Ryan, as he discovers the joys of running.

Life can be harsh and the aging process is a fact of life that we all must face sooner or later.  One day I’m running like the wind and loving every minute of it, then the next my body refuses to let me take another step.  How often do you set your heart on a goal or destination, only to have your journey disrupted?

I’m going to qualify for Boston, but will have to do it in a more creative way.  In life, flexibility is key to remain sane in an ever changing world with dynamic obstacles and unanticipated challenges around every corner.  Course correction is a necessary evil and a skill that we must all develop.

I once read that the Apollo space ship would veer off course immediately after takeoff and that it would have to go through thousands of course corrections midflight in order to stay on the correct path on its way to the moon.  We all have dreams and aspirations and our own personal “moon landing” and will have to continually course correct in order to get to our final destination.  When we finally arrive, does it matter how we got there as long as we stayed true to ourselves and honored God in the process?  Stop worrying about the path and the obstacles along the way.  Step around them and keep moving, the world needs to experience your victories.

I’ve adjusted my training schedule and have taken some time off to allow my body to heal, but the most important thing is that I’m running with my son, Ryan, and the legacy will continue in his young and fresh legs.  How about you? What needs to change in your life so you can keep moving towards a major goal or milestone?


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