Thursday, March 4, 2010

Don't Give Up


My favorite t-shirt reads in simple block letters, "Don't Give Up." It's an ad agency's motto, and I find wisdom in its simplicity. It acknowledges things won't always go the way you want, progress is hard and perseverance is a virtue. I'm drawn to running for those reasons. DailyMile has been a great eye-opener for me to the different struggles other runners face. It's inspiring to see the progress people make. Just check out this collection of before/after photos. I'm often jealous to some degree of the new runners. I remember just discovering running, the feeling like it was a new drug that is life-altering. Improvement comes quickly in those days. It's intoxicating. And then you plateau. This is inevitable. The days of dropping 15 minutes from a marathon PR end. You're left confronting personal limitations. That's when the hard part begins. You need to reorient your goals and outlook, maybe figure out the small things that can make improvements. That's where I've been the last 18 months. Running as a struggle has been something new. It's humbling. What I've noticed, though, is I've begun making improvements again. Going under 3:10 at the Harrisburg Marathon was a nice achievement. It puts me in spitting distance of the three-hour mark. That won't come in Boston, but it could provide a base to make the changes needed, such as joining a running team, that can get me there.

As an aside, I came across a great column in the New York Times recounting the story of Jan Baalsrud, a Norwegian resistance fighter during WWII. His story is truly an epic tale of endurance. It's actually beyond endurance, almost reminiscent of all the stuff Pangloss goes through in Candide.

2 comments:

runner-grrl said...

Enjoyed reading your post, and identify particularly with it: "I remember just discovering running, the feeling like it was a new drug that is life-altering... It's intoxicating. And then you plateau... The days of dropping 15 minutes from a marathon PR end. You're left confronting personal limitations." Someday, we will all reach a point where a faster race is no longer possible. I hope that today / this year / this decade is not it, but the improvements are ever smaller and personal victories must be found elsewhere. -Alex

Brian Morrissey said...

Alex,
That's the struggle. I still think I can improve at the marathon, and I still have lots to try at distances both shorter and longer.