Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes

Without fail, every spring, I end up stumbling into “springing forward”, society’s rush to spring and inept attempt to control time, I remember past springs. I think about one spring 11 years ago, a few months after a 9 year relationship ended, where my entire world shifted, turned upside down and I couldn’t seem to find solid ground. Anywhere. I felt completely lost. Even though I was doing what everyone said to find solid ground — meditate, exercise, practice yoga, eat good foods, find gratitude. 

At some point a friend suggested to me I take yoga teacher training, composed of life training and teacher training. I thought, sure why the f not? I could use some life training, perhaps make some new friends, and I would skip the teacher training. Well, I found out after the life training portion it’s not like that. I had paid for both couldn’t get money back for the teacher training part and I thought, well shit might as well finish what I started. 

During that time, I learned and discovered so much of and about me. I was pushed to many edges I didn’t know existed. I cried, I laughed, I gained knowledge, felt not so alone. And I wrote. A LOT.

At some point I said I think I want to run a marathon, mainly to prove to myself I could do it and that there is life after 40— like some people jump out of airplanes, others climb Mt. Everest, for me it was running a marathon. (I have not had a desire to run one since.) A friend mentioned there was one in the fall and I could start training for it. So I began training and wrote a whole lot more. Running became a form of meditation and it seemed my mind was clearer. I shared my writing with my fellow yoga trainees and they told me they felt like I did, and I felt less alone.

Without fail, in the fall every year, I think back to the fall of that spring. Training to run the Detroit Marathon and running it that October. But not without many trials, falls, missteps, miscalculations, doubts, fears, triumphs, joys, challenges, and so much more.

And in my infinite wisdom of thinking I could control most everything, I thought I could control my running — what I learned is I can control very little, but I can control my showing up consistently. 

My run time on race day was 5 hours, 43 minutes, 45 seconds. A whole hour 13 minutes, 45 seconds longer than my goal. Running roughly an average of a 14 minute mile, when I wanted to be running between an 11 1/2 and 12 minute mile.

From a 10 mile race I completed 2 months before the marathon

I trained for 6 1/2 months for that one day. Clocked many miles, had oh so many triumphs and defeats along the way. I fell down, got injured, surpassed many of my goals I had set. And yet on race day, because I was running with an injury, my run time was off, like majorly off — an hour and 15 minutes off. And the last 8 miles sucked, were fucking hard and I wanted to walk or just plain stop. A friend of mine came in at mile 20 and ran with me those last 6.2 miles. He told me I could do it, he said just keep putting one foot in front of the other. He ran a little in front of me and I watched his feet. At mile 26 a dear friend was there cheering me on — I stopped for a moment to hug her and ran those last .2 miles in, exhausted, looking like shit, thrilled, in pain and proud that I did it.

Just like life. The proverbial “they” say life is like a marathon. Until I trained for and ran one, I didn’t really believe “them”. And at some point during my training, I realized “they” were right. A marathon can feel like I’m running alone at times, but there is always someone there cheering me on from the sidelines, or perhaps right next to me. Life, like a marathon, can be incredibly painful, but those pains won’t last forever, even if it seems like they will. And glory is often just a brief moment, but to cherish each and every moment, cause that exact moment will not come to pass again. There may be much in life I cannot control, the best thing is to put my attention on the things I can control - my breath, my actions and my attitude. 

I have stopped and started writing this blog piece many a time — like over the past couple of years. And now it is complete in its rawest form and this will be part of an ongoing series — a piece of me. A piece of my story — what I learned through my experiences of training for a marathon and life that kept coming at me. 

I offer you a mix of my reflections 11 years after yoga teacher training and training for and running a marathon and my thoughts, trials, tribulations, jubilations, heartache and love that transpired during that time and after.

This is my journey — an awakening to the fact nothing is impossible. Some things just take a little longer and may not always look quite how I planned them.

It was a time period that forever changed my life. I learned another person does not complete me, for I am not broken. Opportunities and people will appear, disappear and re-appear on my path, it is up to me to nurture those relationships, recognize and seize opportunities and trust in the unfoldment of life. I learned all I need to do is focus on my breath and take the next step, and the next step and the next.