Day #44: Believe… and RUN!
When was the last time you fell down? I’m talking both literally – you stumbled and tripped and plummeted unable to stop your awkward ballet and ended up on your back on the ground… – and figuratively – you blundered, in part because of your own doing, but unintentionally. And you found yourself back at the beginning of something. Back where you shouldn’t have to be. Because you worked too hard for this. And you are owed more!
What was your instinct when you fell? Did you, like Lasse Viren in the 1972 Munich Olympics, keep your eyes forward, fixed on the prize…? Even as you fell you had your vision on the goal, your cosmic optimism set on accomplishing the greatest task despite all odds…? And you arose and broke through the barriers of your own possibilities to achieve impossible glory!
Or did you adjust your attention downward – in that blink of an eye – and show your real, true focus? A focus on this moment in time, this moment that cannot be, that should not be. This moment which you don’t deserve. Because it is someone else’s fault… And you laid on the track, on your knees and all of your olympic energies crashed with gravity into that portion of ground which then marked your defeat.
How did we learn these two attitudes – and how can we train to be like Lasse??
The two attitudes are distinct. In the victorious, all systems are go and victory and possibility and glory at every moment — even in the stumbling fall. Then, the fall is part of the gracious success – and makes the success even greater bliss.
Yet the fallen – even while she falls – already exists in the past. And it is as if she had known it all along. In defeat is an inevitability. A fateful script in which what shouldn’t happen is supposed to happen. While she trips and falls she has completed her loss.
How can we protect ourselves from the fate of the fallen defeated? How can we, instead, win even while we are down?
The answer lies in believing. Lasse’s posture throughout his fall is already record-breaking victory. An assurance that he will win. He does not know how – but he knows that – he will win.
We who gather together in contrast to Viren, we of downcast eyes, own a fear that we will lose. We lack belief and we run from fear. Lasse runs to victory. We run away from disgrace – and as we are focused on disgrace, come to know it only too well.
It is all simple to expound about winning and losing attitudes and outcomes; to dissect the mettle of Olympians; but the champion runner takes all of these things to heart with humility, accepting that “except for the grace of God, so go I…” We work on believing, we dissect believing and we take the scalpel to doubt and fear. We run through fear into certainty of our best effort – whether that be a collision-caused DNF, a season-ending injury or flat out defeat because, simply, we are not the best. It is a commitment to know that we will be everything – and no more – that we are capable of. Even if that means dead last.
Bottom line: winning isn’t everything. Believing is.
I fell once – and lost the race. Eventually, I found myself being carried… back again to the starting line. To do it right this time. The next time I fell – believing that my best was everything that was required – I got up in one fluid movement, eyes ever fixed on the prize in front of me – and finished the course. I didn’t set a world record; I didn’t medal. But this time, unlike the first, I heard echoing back to me from within – “Well done! You gave it everything you had!”
Believe in your running success, and run your course the best way you can.