“Sometimes you have to slow down in order to move fast.” – Jenny Nash
[Heads Up: Belated New Year’s Post Ahead. But I think the musings still apply and there’s a super cool video with music to match, so there’s that.]
A New Year. A New You. As the lights flash on the countdown to new years, the ball drops with the light sparkling and reflecting off of it, and the crowd looks up in anticipation, I can’t help but feel we are feeling the same anticipation. The same longing, the same expectation, the same hope that this year will bring the joy and happiness we so desperately crave. As I was sitting at the bar, New Years Eve, hat on head and beer in hand, my friend and I talked about that. That desire for happiness and a fresh start.
I’ve been in PT for over a year now, going on two years on-and-off, for the same ailment. But I can finally start to see some improvement. Some glimmer of hope. I had lost motivation at one point. At several points if we’re being honest. The prolonged ailment had been to my own dismay and my own doing. The problem was I couldn’t see an end in sight and the option of staying disconnected seemed most enticing. I had checked out.
One night, I was scrolling through old posts from 3 years ago. It was about marathon training and how training often breaks you down each mile to build you up into a stronger person – wearing and tearing on your muscles, finding rest and recovery, and picking yourself up and doing it all again, only this time stronger and more experienced.
That’s what PT has taught me. Baby steps. Little steps. Slow, calculated steps. And eventually, if you put in the work, you will see improvements you didn’t even know were happening. I had been focusing on the race, on outrunning myself. Not focusing on the other aspects that were so central and integral to training. Rest and recovery. It’s a thing. A beautiful, beautiful thing. I was charging ahead, forcing the way into the future, not paying mind to the rest stops. Turns out you need those. You need those breaks. You need those moments to take a step back and pay mind to what is happening. You need to slow down in order to speed up.
I’ve been working on strength training, preparing and building my muscles for what is to come. And I’m already getting to run again and see improvements to my stride and my approach to training. I’m already feeling more balanced. In more ways than one. The tricky part is you have to put in the elbow grease, the counterintuitive work of slowing down to see the whole picture, even when you won’t see an improvement right away. In a world that is centered on instant gratification, it’s funny how right that saying is. Just taking a moment, one moment, to pause, evaluate and listen to your body, is so important to taking that step forward you have been so desperately waiting for.
I feel as though New Years is a mindset into happiness and a fresh start. The ball dropping and the countdown to a new year is giving you permission to find a clean slate. The chance to embrace a new you, taking all of the struggles and trials and learnings from the year and using them to make yourself stronger. And conversely, taking all of the immense blessings from the year and using them to bolster that strength. Moving forward.
I jokingly have been using “New Year, New You” as my battle cry. I think there’s some truth in it this year, though. I always thought New Year’s resolutions were inconsequential. The reason for that being, I thought we were constantly changing and could be making new years resolutions, goals, missions, year-round with us as we change and grow or as life throws us curve balls. I still feel that way. We’re constantly adapting to the waves of change. But I really feel a newness this year. When you get knocked down, there is the option to stay down, to give in to that sweet, sweet comfort of the floor beneath you. But what is down there? What is keeping us there in that spot?
You can’t outrun running. “You can’t walk away from running. It will always find you.” World Record holder for the marathon (running a sub 2:50) and mom to Olympian Shalane Flanagan, Cheryl Bridges, told me that this last Boston Marathon. (I fangirled) As I sat on the sidelines, cheering, I could not get that out of my head. I’ve been stealthily avoiding, making excuses, sabotaging my road to recovery, all on my own. I’ve been giving into the floor. With this injury I’ve learned what foods and nutrition fuel my body, what exercises complement my training, and how much I love the sport. I don’t want to hold myself back anymore. By slowing down, I’ve been able to see the minute pieces that have made up the three years of marathon training and what has led to success. I’ve broadened my view. I also see the parts I have been missing in order to create the whole picture.
As we sat at the bar, hats on heads, beers in hands, we realized growth comes from your perspective and what you make of the situation. Life is hard. Running is hard. Nothing comes easily, unless of course it’s a test of your strength and there to break you down and build you up into something new. But that’s what rest stops are for. Watch out world. I’ve hit my rest stops and I’m coming in hot this year.