the reminder of a reminder
Your wings already exist. All you have to do is fly. ~unknown
There is a tiny handful of certain people in my life from whom I never delete text messages. These are the people that I have wickedly spectacular written conversations with, and the words develop organically and without any definitive purpose other than to connect over shared thoughts. Sometimes, I’ll throw some ideas from them down in text editor, which, as we know from my Moab piece, can spiral out of amok (thank you, Michael Scott, for one of the funniest lines from The Office!), but mostly I’ll just scroll backward because I like the predeterminate opportunities to relive the stories told.
Anyway, yesterday morning, over my third cup of coffee (holy delicious caffeine jitters!), I started writing out my training plan for the Leadville 100 and the Moab 240, and as I got deeper into the spreadsheet, my breath grew more and more shallow. Oh lordy… here comes the silly panic attack again, which is eye-rolling stupid given that I successfully completed the hardest training of my life last summer. Didn’t I have a conversation about this with J last year about this time??? Why do I continue to freak about the details rather than just DO THE THINGS?? These thoughts cycled maniacally through my head, each word repeating itself to the rhythm of my keyboard strokes until, finally, I decided that this was one of those “stories told” that I should relive. So I opened my messages and started scrolling. And scrolling. And scrolling. And, finally, one yoga class, two beers, a not-quite-full-night’s sleep, and three more cup of coffees later, I found the text story about the first time that I had to be talked down using nothing but a simple statement of advice wise enough to make Lao Tzu proud. A reminder to not get stuck on the small things, rather just DO them and shift my perspective on what they mean. Oh perspective… you are my little nemesis, aren’t you?
And, because, one year ago these words resonated hard, and because I’m less than twenty-four hours from beginning another eight months of ass-kicking training, and because I know that I’m not the only one whose tendency to let sweating the details of the thing get in the way of actually DOING THE THING, I’m sharing them with you below.
(side note: For some context, I often tell stories in my classes to set a theme. On the morning described below, I parted ways with my trusty advice giver and headed to teach a class. Immediately, I launched into my story, which, as it turns out was one of my more well-received ones. Of course I had to tell J about it, and my side of the conversation is what you’re about to read.)
the same shit I teach reminder text
'Today’s story was one about not getting overwhelmed by the details. About shifting your perspective on what lies ahead so that it seems less daunting and how sometimes that shift is what will allow you to actually take a full breath, reset yourself with a smile, and actually get somewhere.
Let me back up… It was 11:59 - one minute before class time - and, rather than everyone quietly lying on their backs (they’re a fairly serious group), they were seated in various yogic positions chattering with the people next to them. I walked into the studio to dim the lights, turn off the music, and make my way to the front of the room. Immediate silence. But silence accompanied by especially wide smiles, which was curious (repeat: a serious group). I asked how everyone was, which led to greater silence and wider smiles. Again, curious. This newness in energy led me to perch myself on the built-in wall circle at the front of the room, and rather than settling them into their mats, just start talking.
I gave a super short synopsis of my secret entry into the Leadville Lottery, of your not-at-all secret entry, and of the learning about the Moab 240 a week ago. I told them about how I ended up wanting to NOT be picked for Leadville because Moab had this instant and inexplicable draw, and about your idea of me pacing you in Leadville, and you pacing me at Moab. I told them that on Sunday, amongst our tribe, we found out that this plan is going to work; and I brought them all the way up to our conversation at Elemental just a few hours ago, where, when we started talking details and logistics, my chest began to tighten and my breathing shallowed. They laughed with me about that. I told them that this prolonged (and quite unnecessary) panic attack lasted until moments before they started trickling in, when I read your text to view it as one of the challenges of running 238 miles. To switch my perspective on it - the same shit I teach ALL. THE. TIME. Again, we laughed.
They slid down into child’s pose and we started class. I wrote this out for two reasons: a) because it’s one of the stories for that book that will one day actually be a book, and 2) as an expression of gratitude, yet again, for you. This is the text I just received from one of my students (see below). Thank you, from both of us, for the reminder. Apparently, it’s needed all around.'
And now, one year later, with the reminder of a reminder and a training plan (almost) in place, I'll strap on my decidedly unfancy new running sandals and go do the thing.