How often have we heard this gem: life is a marathon, not a sprint? One step at a time, keep the pace, steady as she goes and all that jazz.
I get the wisdom of it, I really do. In fact, I find myself preaching somewhat relentlessly that we must “go slow to go fast.” Further evidence: I attended a wonderful workshop by poet/author David Whyte over the weekend – to say this guy has been influential on my personal and professional development is to say that rain is wet, grass is green and the Chargers are lame. Duh. He said “velocity is not the answer to complexity.” Cheers to that! And, yet, sometimes you’ve just gotta run like hell – fast and hard and no looking back.
The day after I listened to the poet I was treated to another source of inspiration. My wife ran and (successfully!) completed her first half-marathon. Actually, her first running race of any kind. Until this, she would tell you she was not a runner. She definitely is now. And, having run with her a couple of times I can assure you, she is strong and she is consistent. The tortoise, not the hare.
On a beautiful and cold Sunday morning she joined the throng and took to the streets. We saw her at mile four – keeping the pace – and again at mile nine – steady as she goes. We then bee-lined it to the finish line to see her close the deal. It took an act of God to navigate the parking and the crowds but we got there and I figured she’d be coming in pretty soon. What I didn’t count on was how.
One second she was nowhere in sight and the next she was SPRINTING to the finish line. I wish I had my face on film because I was awestruck. I just couldn’t believe it. The plodder, the ‘ol steady and reliable running like a woman possessed. She went by so fast I couldn’t get it on film. And so I just laughed and celebrated and cheered. Later on I asked what had gotten into her and she simply said “I just wanted to get the thing done.” Indeed.
Sometimes, the goal is so near, we just have to give it the gas and go. Sometimes there’s no holding back, no hesitation, no second-guessing. Just a determined, focused commitment to finish and finish strong.
I hope I always remember to take it slow, to trust the process, to be steady and measured in the pursuit of my dreams. And, I hope that when the goal is in sight I have the courage to leave nothing in the tank, to aim right at it and seize it as mine.