“To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift.” -Steve Prefontaine
In my earlier years I confess to being a complainer, one of those people extremely hard to please. For such a person, life can be a real bitch; their cup is always half-empty, it’s always a bad day and as a result bad things always happen. Picture running with an attitude like that, a nightmare. The weather (biggest running pet peeve ) is never right, the shoe never fits well, someone’s always messing up their race, they’re never running well..things just never work out right. And the worst part is that they’re so busy looking at the negative things, they miss the most beautiful parts: the beauty of the changing seasons, the sheer joy of competition and success, good health and vitality and so many other blessings that runners enjoy.
Thank God the past is just that, past and gone forever. However, it serves as an important reference point, whereby I can assess the changes I’ve had to embrace in order to see my self-growth, particularly in my running. Whenever I’m asked what caused my shift in perspective, I point to my arrival here in the United States and the succeeding period of uncertainty I endured before my move to New York. There’s something to be said for not being in control of things – in truth, thinking we are in control is an illusion anyway – we are forced to tap into our natural strength and ability, traits we might never have explored otherwise. In any event, my aha moment came in realizing that living in the moment and maximizing my gift was not a blessing to be taken lightly. The rest, as they say, is history.
This week, before my marathon on Sunday, has gotten me to thinking of how important it is for any person facing a challenge, especially a runner, to do so with the right attitude and perspective. The ability to run is a gift. You owe it to yourself and the gift-giver to do your best with it. Running gives you freedom, direction and purpose; you can choose to do with that as you may, but it is yours to enjoy for as long as you can. Your ability to engender enthusiasm and embrace its benefits ensures that running becomes a lot easier, more enjoyable, and more of a blessing if you do it with grace, gratitude and a genuine desire to make a difference, whether personally or to the world at large. Either way, it will ultimately extend beyond you because you’re running with the right attitude.