One blogger I read often is Michael Hyatt. He’s also an author and speaker. His blog Michael Hyatt.com is an amazing resource for lots of different things. He’s got some great blogs and podcasts on how to change your life. When I found this image on his Pinterest page, it encapsulates what I want to talk about today. When I started blogging regularly, I was doing so to chronicle my journey toward becoming a runner. During the early days of writing this blog, Linzie Starr of See Sharp Run wrote a blog entitled “Write Your Masterpiece” that I reblogged here. He wrote this blog after running the 2013 Los Angeles Marathon. Later in 2013, he changed his blog and the quoted blog is no longer available. I loved this part of his post…
Every single race medal we earn tells a story! No two races are ever the same…EVER! I can pull any medal off of my rack and tell you a story about that race day. How I felt, where I was, the emotions and thoughts I felt when I was there, how I felt at the finish line. They are small chapters in my personal novel that is my life. Racing is a part of who I am. My life has other wonderful chapters and stories within it. But when I sit back and I look at how seemless the pages fit into the book, how the impacts of running have changed my life and the lives of others….THAT is a masterpiece.
Tomorrow is not a promised day for anyone. When we leave to move on to the next stage of life, what is the legacy you want to leave behind? Not to be morbid, but it’s gonna happen. I want my novel to be a Pulitzer Prize winning, New York Times Best Seller piece of literature. Sure, I am not perfect. No, I don’t know all the answers. Yes, I’ve screwed up. And the meaning of life is ’42.’ But what I do know for a fact is that we all have an obligation to ourselves first to be the best people that we can be. You will stumble. But it’s in how you recover. Grace. Love. Dignity. Respect.
Such true words. As the year progressed, I would learn how true it is. At my church, our pastor has recently released a book entitled The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art. If you’d like to purchase this book, feel free to look for it at any of your local book sellers or on Amazon.com. As we’ve been going through the book, so much is popping off the pages at me. The words are ringing true not only of my journey towards becoming a runner, but the journey of life itself.
What would the world be like if each of us had an inner voice that awakened within us our greatest self? (from Chapter 2, page 63)
Whether you’re a couch potato who longs to run a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon, or God forbid an Ultra Marathon, to get to those goals requires us to change the narrative of our lives. If we’re not used to exercising regularly, there will be obstacles to conquer that are not merely physical. Finding the desire day in and day out is NOT easy. In The Artisan Soul, Erwin McManus says, “To find our own voice, we must first wrestle with the voices inside our brains. Some of those voices could hold us captive the rest of our lives. Some of those voices, if we choose to give them power over us, will make us become less and less as we listen to them more and more. Some voices inside will silence our souls and leave us without a language to express who we really are. To find our own voice, we must be willing to let our souls go silent. Finding our own voice may take the greatest courage we’ve ever mustered.” (Chapter 2, page 43) As I’ve embarked on the journey that has taken me across the finish line of many 5K’s, 5 10K’s, 4 Half Marathons and 1 Full Marathon, I’ve battled those voices that tell me things like…I’m too tired…I’m too overweight…I can’t finish this training run…There are too many miles to the finish line…and on and on it goes.
Until the voice that guides us declares our freedom, nothing and no one in the world can make us free. As long as the voice that defines who we are declares our freedom, no one and nothing can hold us captive. Which leads us to the critical question: What is the narrative that guides us? (Chapter 2, page 54)
In my running journey, the voice that declares my freedom has come with each success. Anyone who has dared to dream of finishing a marathon will tell you that there are both successes and failures along the way. If you’ve followed this blog long enough, you know that I’ve experienced both. As Erwin says, “It is equally important for us to realize that our guiding narrative determines the story we tell through our lives. Our inner voice not only informs us of who we are but affects everything we touch and in the end becomes the driving force through which we strive to shape the world around us.” (Chapter 2, page 59)
I really love the inspirational quotes the folks with the Rock n Roll race series post on their Facebook page. As I see them come across my news feed, it keeps the narrative of my inner voice moving towards change…towards becoming better, stronger, faster. In my life outside of running, I have found this statement in Erwin’s book to be 100% true…
The story of all humanity came into being from the voice of God. He is the master storyteller. He was always intended to give to us the narrative that guides. (Chapter 2, page 60)
What kept me from giving up in the failures? A belief that God had called me to be something more than I was. That my dream of finishing a marathon was one he had placed deep inside of me. If he placed that narrative inside of me, then I believed he would take those failures and make them into something beautiful. Earlier in The Artisan Soul, we see that “This path is not an escape from life’s wounds and disappointment. To live from our souls is to pursue our greatest passions and expose ourselves to our greatest pain. We cannot live to create and be surprised that we have traveled through failure. We cannot live a life of passion and not know sorrow. To pursue a dream is to invite a nightmare! To live a life of love is to know betrayal and loss. The soul is both fragile and resilient.” (Chapter 1, page 35) If you want to change the narrative of your life, you need to be prepared for failure and embrace it as a learning exercise. I cannot tell you how many times, I’ve gone out for a run not knowing how it would turn out. So many times, the goal was simply to finish the miles…no matter what it took. The lessons I’ve learned can be applied to so much in life.
We live in the crucible between the promise of who we can become and the reality of who we have been. We exist between tragedy and triumph, failure and success, live and death, hate and love, and this in between can be like an abyss where we feel lost and torn. It is here, though in this tension that we find the most interesting people. (Chapter 3, page 79)
As I journey on past becoming a marathoner, these words ring so amazingly true. They were true as I pursued becoming a runner and they are just as true today as I continue on in sustaining this new identity. Last year, I re-wrote my narrative. This year, the challenge is to live in that new narrative and continue growing. Since the Surf City USA Half Marathon, it has been a struggle to find the motivation I need to keep training. I had decided not to run in the Knott’s Coaster 5K run this year because I felt like I needed a month to start without a race in it. However, I’m now wondering if that was the best decision because the pressure of another race has been taken away from me and I’ve totally slacked off. Now, I’m paying the price of missed runs and gym workouts.
Last night, I got out and intended to run 6 miles. It was awesome to be out and running at night with it still light outside!
What I love about the time change is that I get home from work before it gets dark. So, I saw the above at the start of my run.
I even got to run in my new shoes for the first time! I’m not gonna lie. It was a difficult run. Everything felt much harder than I was used to. However, running once or twice a week for several weeks will do that to you. However, after watching the Los Angeles Marathon over the weekend and what I’ve read in The Artisan Soul, I really wanted to get out and try. To top all of that off, the Hollywood Half Marathon is coming up quickly. So, the pressure is back on. As hard as it was, I was keeping to my intervals. However, at around 2.6 miles, my back started hurting. I managed to finish 3 miles, but the pain told me it was time to call it a day.
I tried to get a picture of my watch to show what I finished. However, this is what I got. So…
Here’s what the Nike Plus web site showed of my run. As disappointed as I was at having to call it quits after only 3 miles, I realize that the journey is long. My body was telling me that it wasn’t up to 6 miles last night. So, I chose to live to fight another day. That’s okay. What I need to do in order to keep this narrative of my life as a runner going is to keep moving on and not let the effects of this workout deter my mission of being a better runner. For this workout, I’ll accept slow. From here on out, I’m planning on ending my postings with a screen shot from the workouts that I finish. I’m viewing it as an accountability thing. A line in the sand needs to be drawn. I can listen to my former self and be content with finishing a full marathon, only to move on life. Or, I can keep the changing narrative in my life moving towards solidifying my identity as a runner. For now, I’m choosing the latter. It will be a gym workout tonight. I hope y’all have a great day today.
Where are you at in life? Is the narrative needing a change? Or are you working on solidifying the current narrative?