Happy monday maniacs! Who’s ready to grab this week by its nether-regions and accomplish everything on our to-do lists?
I have to be honest, I was NOT feeling very motivated this morning. I was up too late last night writing a silly blog post about Easter, L.S.D., and coincidences, my morning run was a little draggy, and my to-do list this week is LONG.
I shifted my mindset in a major way when I sat down with my (digital) newspaper over dinner this evening. I had entirely forgotten that the Boston Marathon was today!
I am THRILLED that this year’s event proceeded safely and smoothly. I am inspired by the stories of triumph, resilience, and support coming from the East Coast today. Every athlete who completes the race is amazing. A few individuals today made me especially proud to be an American, and inspired me to try and be a better human in general.
The big headline grabber was Meb Keflezighi finishing the Boston Marathon in 2:08:48 (an average pace of 4’54″/mile!), to become the first American winner since 1982! Meb is 38 years old, making him the oldest winner since 1930! I love that an athlete who was widely considered to be in the dusk of his career took everybody by surprise with such a commanding performance!
Tatyana McFadden handily won the women’s wheelchair division. Tatyana McFadden is one of my very favorite athletes. She was born with Spina Bifida, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. She was abandoned as an infant, and walked on her hands for the first six years of her life because her orphanage did not provide her with a wheelchair. Last year she became the first human being EVER (able bodied or not) to win four major marathons in the same year (New York, Chicago, Boston, and London). She set a course record in Chicago last year, set a course record in London this year, won a silver medal in Sochi in paralympic nodric skiing, and continues her DOMINANCE of paralympic endurance sports with today’s win. Tatyana’s athleticism, perseverance, activism for women and the disabled, and her strength are mind-boggling. I hope that I can live with a fraction of her integrity, (and maybe someday be able to match a fraction of her bench-press max).
There are almost too many inspirational stories to list, but I must mention 4.15 strong. This is a training group entirely comprised of people who were injured in last years’ bombings. Some were seasoned runners, some were simply spectators at the finish line.
They trained together over the course of the past year as a way to confront the fear; in taking ownership of the trauma they are leaving it behind. Rather than avoiding the finish line and its painful memories for the rest of their lives, this amazing group was united by catastrophe into a community.
Marathons and catastrophic events are, in some ways, opposite sides of the same coin: both test the limits of human capacity. Both also represent opportunities for humanity to perform at its peak. Athletic competitions display humans using their bodies to the best of their abilities. The outpouring of love and support following a tragedy gives our species a chance to use our souls. In either case, we, as humans, are capable of some amazing things.
We, as a species, may have a lot to answer for (genocide, climate change, and “The Macarena” come to mind)
However, the humans at the Marathon exemplify one of Homo sapiens sapiens’ best qualities: resilience. These are people who were faced with CHALLENGES: loss of professional respect, loss of family, injury, loss of mobility, loss of safety and security. However, in each case these amazing individuals met the challenge head-on and proved themselves more than capable.
When life becomes difficult you have a choice in the story you tell yourself. One option is to think: “This is HARD, I’m not sure I can do this, what a terrible situation.” Another option is to tell yourself: “This is HARD, I’m not sure I can do this, what a GREAT CHANCE to prove myself!”
Not all of us will run a marathon this week, this month, or even this lifetime! I think it’s more important (and sometimes even more difficult) to live with resilience in your day-to-day life.
I’m sorry for rambling on so long, but I hope that everyone can have a fantastic week!
Let’s open it up for discussion:
Who are your favorite athletes (in any discipline)?
What challenges do you see yourself facing this week? How do you plan to rise to the occasion and excel?