"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great." - Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks' character) in League of Their Own
Then yesterday, as I watched the Boston Marathon, I was thinking of this quote again.
I watched Shalane go out like a woman on fire... like a woman on a mission. Her pace was too fast that early. I knew it was too fast. And yet as I watched her lead the field, running so aggressively and with so much heart, I hoped and HOPED that someone the laws of marathoning would be suspended for just this one day and that she would be able to hold out, lead to the end and win. Of course she didn't... she was passed by three women near Heartbreak Hill and the brilliant Rita Jeptoo defended her title and won with a new course record of 2:18:57. Yet even after losing the lead, Shalane continued to fight, to "dig", and finished seventh in 2:22:02, her goal time, a 3 minute PR for her, and the fastest time run by an American woman in Boston ever. I had tears watching her finish.
You could see while she was running, especially near the end, that it was so very hard. And do you know what she said?
In the postrace news conference she said, “I don’t wish it were easier, I just wish I were better. It was a really heartfelt performance today.”
And I come back around to the League of Their Own quote. "The hard is what makes it great."
Of course yesterday I also watched Meb. Meb who I always cheer for. Meb who I have met on multiple occasions, ran for his charity team, have met his family, and am so inspired by. I watched him go out against men who have much faster PR's than he does, men who expected to beat him. I watched him go out and RUN so fast and so strong and so determined. In those last few miles you could see the pain creeping into his face and his stride. You could see the effort, the strain, and the HARD. I practically held my breath as I willed him to hold on... to keep fighting... to not let the runners fighting so hard to catch him to succeed.
As clearly as you could see the struggle and pain of those final miles in Meb's face, you could also see the RESOLVE to not give in to that pain. You could see him choose to embrace the hard, to push through, to not let himself be caught. It was brilliant, and emotional, and so very, very exciting. He became the first American in over 30 years, and the oldest person to win the Boston Marathon since 1931.
Again I thought, "The hard is what makes it great."
"Most people thought my career was done," Keflezighi told Glor. "But you can't test the heart."
All of this was a great reminder for me for my own training. Running lots of miles, getting up super early each morning, doing all that I can to be as fit and as fast as I can be, training hard to reach big goals - it's not going to be easy. It's not supposed to be.
I think that human beings in general tend to shy away from things that are hard, from things that hurt, and from things that make us uncomfortable. It is one of the reasons so many people claim to "hate running"... because it is hard! But when we push ourselves and challenge ourselves with things that are hard, things that hurt, and things that make us uncomfortable, that is when we grow as people, that is when we see how strong we are, that is when we see what we are capable of, and that is when we find our "great".
"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great."
|This is my favorite picture from yesterday.|