I was watching something and they brought up William Wallace (Braveheart) and they used a quote of his that struck home with regards to running.
The quote was "Every man dies. Not every man really lives. "
What's that have to do with running, well, I feel that when I run I am experiencing life.When I run longer distances, I experience even more life and feel that I am living my life to it's fullest. I have been asked many times through the years why do I run, most recently I have been asked why am I running longer distances and want to go even longer? I usually quip that the longer I run the slower I can go and the easier it is. There is a grain of truth there but I think I run longer not to test my physical limits but to test my mental limits. At some point in most marathons and the 50k's that I have done, my body grows weak and my mind wavers but it ultimately is my mind that gets me to the finish. It's a little like the quote from Henry Ford:
If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right.
Ever been on a long run and started thinking you can't do it, I have and every time it turned out I was right. I quit. On the other hand when I kept believing or at least trying by taking one more step forward, I did it.
As a matter of fact Henry Ford had many quotes which when applied to running make a lot of sense, for example:
There is no man living that can not do more than he thinks he can.
For the ultra community that I am working to join this is what I think is the mantra that they go by, what can I do?
Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.
I will remember this one as I attempt my first 50 and then my first 100 in case my first attempt does not work out as planned.
One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his greatest surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't.
This was true for my first marathon, my first 50k and it will be true after my first 50.
When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.
Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.
These two will help me during the training that is yet to come and the races yet to be run.
Don't find fault, find a remedy; anybody can complain.
I need to keep this one in mind when my training isn't happening.
Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.
Ultra/marathon training in a microcosm.
Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.
I think this is why I run, it is the experiences along the way, both good and bad, the setbacks and recovering from them and the fact that we keep moving forward.
Of course Ford did say this one as well:
Exercise is bunk. If you are healthy, you don't need it: if you are sick you should not take it.
So you can't take all of his quotes to heart :-)
I love reading quotes like these to help me appreciate why I run, to help me when I have weak moments and am doubting myself and to keep myself in check when the confidence is high. I will use quotes like these to remind myself that I love to run longer distances for the journey and the successes and I will use my failures as simply experiences along the way to my ultimate successes. The bottom line for me is to never give up running or my dream to finish a distance or a race but to cherish it as something that with God's help I can continue to enjoy for my entire life. Remember if you think you can, you can.................