Think Kit Prompt – What was the wisest decision you made this year?
I stood by the car in the trailhead parking lot, shirtless, my shorts soaked in sweat, my body breathing a huge sigh of relief while my legs twitched with tiny muscle spasms. Catching my breath I managed to form enough words to make full sentences,
“God, I’m so glad we do this. I’m so glad I decided to start running again. No matter how hot and humid and difficult this can be, it always feels so incredible to do it.”
It was a typical mid-summer day of trail running, hours spent struggling up and down the Southern Indiana single track amidst a blanket of warmth threatening to rob you of all the oxygen needed to keep going, like a cloth bag pulled over your head and cinched at the neck. It was brutal, but at the same time exhilirating, unparalleled, satisfying beyond all normal measure.
I stood there in the parking lot, basking in the glow of accomplishment and relief, because a few months prior I couldn’t contain the fire within me anymore. I couldn’t relegate myself to episodic bouts of running, slogging away on a treadmill, repetitious and purposeless. I just couldn’t deny the growing fire that burned stronger with each successful run, with each day I managed to do it again, with each noticeable increase in fitness.
My coach said, “It’s good to see the fire still burns.”
I replied, “It was always burning. I just put it in a box and tried to hide it in the garage…but then the garage caught fire.”
Through a number of almost synchronized circumstances the drive to run, to train, to compete again surged into me like through broken floodwalls. And I didn’t try to hold it back. I decided to do whatever it took to make it happen again. 5am wakeup calls. Training runs in the pitch dark. Whatever it took. I made that decision…
And it was the wisest decision I made all year.
Because suddenly I had “me” back again. I knew who I was. I was grounded again, calm, and yet driven. I had a sense of purpose, cathartic release, and was, in a way, doing what it feels like I was born to do. Everything was right with the world again.
I stood in that parking lot, completely exhausted and drained from the hours of effort I just expended, in a state most would register as near death, something most would try to avoid at all costs, and yet I felt better, more satisfied, more excited about what was to come than I had in a long time.
To run again, to train…that was certainly the most wise decision I made all year. It continues to prove itself every day.