“Eye on the Prize” or “Relentless Forward Progress”

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Recovery from spine surgery is going well, I am almost at 5 months post-op and am up to running 5 miles continuously without pain.  Running again has been a very slow process; one that started 2 1/2 months ago with 3 x 45 seconds jog at about a 12 minute mile pace.  I waited to try running until I could comfortably walk 4.0 mph for 5 to 6 miles – that is not as easy as it might sound (trust me, I have a new appreciation for the value of walking as exercise).  For the past 2 1/2 months, I have very slowly built up to being able to run 5 miles continuously at about a 7:45-8:00 min/mile.  Also, I only allow myself to run a maximum of every other day, and I don’t always run the maximum distance I can (in other words, I am conservative with my running to avoid doing too much too soon).  Furthermore, if you are experiencing an injury, do not underestimate the value of water running; when done correctly, you can get a very good and hard workout done.

As thankful and happy as I am to have come as far as I have in a relatively short 2 1/2 months, I am often struck by unbelief and doubt at the possibility of being able to run a marathon again, or run at a sub 6 min/mile pace.  It seems so far from where I am right now; the athlete I was seems like a different world.  My heart wants to race another Ironman and 70.3, but my head often tells me how far I still have to go to be able to do that.  With this comes a choice, something that I think is true at many junctures and decision points in life:  do I look at the end result or outcome (the prize) I desire or do I focus on putting one foot in front of the other?  Often we are told to “keep our eye on the prize.”  And yet, too much focus and thinking about outcomes and end results can not only rob us of the joy of the journey; but can discourage us and derail our dreams.  This is especially true if you are dreaming big, or if your goal seems too distant or insurmountable.  This is where I am currently.  My goals and dreams seem impossible rationally, so I have a choice.  Do I focus on what seems impossible?  NO!  I am focusing on making “Relentless Forward Progress.”     Getting a little bit stronger, a little bit faster, a little bit smarter, etc. each day, each week, each month.  And with a little faith, one day I hope to find that I am there again, crossing the finish line.

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