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While driving in the car listening to the radio, Geoff and I like to play a game called “name this band”. Technically, this game of ours doesn’t actually have a name, but essentially “name this band” is what we try to do. Our twelve year age difference pretty much only presents itself in our vast differences in music knowledge While we both grew up on and love classic rock of the 60’s and 70’s, there is a glaring discrepancy over the next 4 decades worth of radio hits. Geoff finds it wildly amusing (frustrating?) that I think all hair and/or heavy metal bands sound the same (Poison, Scorpions, same thing in my book), and I find incredulous that he couldn’t identify a New Kids on the Block song if his life depended on it.
If you were to ask Geoff the classic question of “if you could have dinner with anyone on earth, living or dead, who would it be?” his answer would undoubtedly be David Lee Roth. Except instead of having dinner they’d both probably want to rock climb up a terrifyingly steep cliff while wearing skin tight zebra print leggings, but I digress. That guy is Geoff’s hero. Therefore, it’s extra imperative that I get my Van Halen trivia correct, even to the point of knowing which song includes DLR as the lead singer, and which does not, therefore referred to as “Van Hagar” by Geoff.
This little bit of Geoff/Heather trivia was a roundabout way of sharing that my current mantra of reminding myself to try to be present in the moment right here, right now, unfortunately cannot be repeated to myself without inadvertently getting a Van Halen (excuse me, “Van Hagar”) ear-worm stuck in my head. It’s actually quite obnoxious.
Over and over, I preach to my clients to remain in the moment, to focus on THEIR “now”. Comparison is a tricky, nasty little thing that seemingly brand new and experienced runners alike aren’t immune from. We all want to be better, to be faster, to run further…and it’s so easy to look to the left or right and see another runner who is better, faster, stronger. What isn’t easy is reminding yourself that the better/faster/stronger athlete is not on the same path as you, and has probably had their share of struggles too. Comparison can steal your joy. Comparison can blind you to positive progress. Comparison is toxic, frustrating, and defeating.
Comparison is the thing I’m struggling with right now, which is sort of embarrassing for me to admit, because I’m so adamant on insisting that my clients never do that. Comparison with my old self, and even worse, with others.
It’s hard to accept that my “right now” means I’m struggling to make it through a mile without a walk break, when I clearly remember that 4 months ago I could seemingly run effortlessly, all day (or for at least 35 miles or so).
It’s hard to accept that my “right now” means that I feel like I’m not as good at my job as I would like to be. I struggle to keep up with the front of the pack of the running group that I AM COACHING, when 4 months ago their tempo pace was relatively easy for me. This of course is a perceived fault, I don’t *have* to keep up with my athletes, but knowing that I could, and now I can’t, leaves me feeling inadequate.
It’s frustrating to see the progress my friends have made over the last 3 months of training. Now, before I sound like a total asshole, let me clarify that I’m stoked to see them doing so well. It is, however, a reminder to me of not only how much fitness I have lost, but valuable time I lost training.
So, just like I would do with one of my clients, it’s time for a hard truth reality check.
RIGHT NOW: I’m not where I once was, I’m not where I want to be, but I am where I am. So poetic, right? I had a very common medical malady, and an equally as common medical surgery. As the wise ones once stated: shit happens. Focus on now.
Right now I’m moving forward. I’m running, even if it’s not the “running” I’m used to. Every day on the couch post surgery I dreamt of the day I was able to move freely through my trails. Now that day is here, and it is pretty incredible.
Right now, my intestines are contained within my torso, exactly as they are supposed to be. I still find myself shocked when I reach down and touch my stomach, especially at the end of the day or after a big meal, and don’t feel the bulge of a hernia poking out.
Right now, I’m healthy. I’m alive. Things we should never take for granted.
Right now, it’s eeeeeeverryyythinnnng! (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)
I do realize that all of my whining and complaining is probably getting old at this point, but I’d be avoiding the truth if I didn’t admit that right now, this part of the journey is a struggle. Fortunately, I also realize how fortunate I am to have had access to medical intervention. How lucky I am to be back to running already, even if I feel like a slug these days.
Right now, I’m learning to truly listen to my body, for the first time in my life.
Right now, I’m branching out and trying new (ish) things. I got back in the pool AND on a bicycle…in the same week.
Right now is hard. I have mixed feelings on the saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, but I fully believe that what I’m going through right now will eventually be a gift.
I just need to keep reminding myself of that…