Sunday, May 29, 2011

Chase the Zebra

"Not everyone who chased the zebra caught it, but he who caught it, chased it."
-South African Proverb-

The quote comes from a book I am reading, RUN! by Dean Karnazes. It sort of catches the spirit of where I am at in this training business. My first week of the half iron distance training plan was an absolute disaster. My lines have been overrun. My troops are in full retreat, and I would have surrendered sooner if I could have found my white flag. Even surrendering was a failure.

As I pull myself from the smoking rubble pile that was my training week, I think of ease, comfort, painless, sweatless days of no particular training plan. Further reaching from the rubble, a glimmer: maybe, just maybe. Then the realization that training and attempting my events is something I really want to do, feel led to do, even hunger to do. My spirit would starve to death without something out there to be reached only by constant effort.

I can remember the only marathon I didn't finish really well. When I went back and watched the hundreds of winners finish, I was sick at heart. Down deep I knew, I had quit before I was really beaten. It was hard to live with myself for a while.

In the book mentioned above, there is an instance where Dean is having a really rough time in an ultra event. He was stopped, on the rubble pile, so to speak, when he asked his friend and pacer, "What should I do?" His friend gave him a succinct answer, quite profound. "You have a single choice to make: you either stop or you continue." It's simple. You can either chase zebras or quit wanting to catch one. Dean went on to finish and I choose likewise. There really is no other good choice if you want to catch the zebra.