I am a quitter! Yep…you read that correctly. I quit. I quit my marathon…I left my mistress…my temptress. I shut the front door on the Columbus 26.2, and 26.2 and I are on a break. I hated 26.2. I hated every single mile she brought. I hated the heat, the speed, the drain on my time, the runner’s trots, the Honey Stinger Chews, the Camelbaks that don’t fit right, the early mornings, the late nights, the rain, the hotel reservations, and the plane ticket. She was the most dreaded thing in my days, and I quit her…with a little help from my 26.2 coach…and the insight of one brilliant little six year old.
It went a little something like this: Jefe and I set a lofty goal. We set some training paces, and miles that I had not yet attempted. We wrote them down…I calendared every step and every pace. And guess what? I nailed every god damn one of them, with the exception of a few rough long runs. My legs were doing the work. My body was moving and overcoming injury without outrageous effort. My speed and tempo were there- but my head and my heart never stepped into those shoes…so I quit.
Quitting did not come easily. I cried…I beat myself up…I did all kinds of rotten things to myself, and then I found some grace, and let it go.
While deliberating over quitting, and deciding whether or not to breathe life into this struggle by marking it with words, I asked myself, “What would E$ do?” Is that WWE$D? OR WWED? Either way- my six year old…that cool old soul of a person…what would she do?
Working out the answer, went down like this:
Soccer- I strongly encouraged E$ to play…from the time she turned 3, I wrangled (more like forced) her into cleats and shin guards. She hauled her little ass out onto that field, and played her heart out, and hated every single minute of it. She hated the equipment…the grass made her skin itch…she hated her uniform…she hated that I was her coach…she hated the atrocious winds in the spring season, and being cold in the fall season. But God Dammit, she was good! She has mad ball handling skills, and packed some serious dynamite in her attitude and shots on goal! It was so frustrating for me to see her as such a solid player, but just hate the game the way she did.
This is what E$ did: She started flipping and cartwheeling and monkey bar swinging until she talked me into a gymnastics class. And then, after a taste of the gym floor and callouses on her hands, she thrust her head, her whole heart, and every ounce of strength in her tiny little body into the sport of gymnastics, and she quit Soccer. She took a few days to think about it, and feel about it, and then she quit. A big ol’ quit! Today, she spends many hours a week on the gym floor, and her heart is full and happy! Her mind is clear and calm, and her little body has become a machine. She is confident and whole; all because she quit! I drew on her bravery to quit what she was hating and to embrace what she loves- this is what I dug my decision making claws in to. It takes some balls to quit. It is a brave move, to quit, because most of us are conditioned to believe that always finishing what we start, is a measure of strength and character. I don’t believe that so much anymore. It seems that quitting, can require as much strength and character as sticking out something truly awful.
So, I did it. I opened my mouth and I put it into the Universe that I wanted to quit. Jefe, was of course, my first call. This one went like this:
Me: If I told you I was thinking of bagging Columbus 26.2 in October what would you say?
Jefe: FINALLY. A wise decision on your part. (Because he is right, I have made a series of REALLY bad decisions of late). You CAN do it. Your body can do it…but your head and heart aren’t in it…and they haven’t been. So, don’t do it. It would just be a waste of your time. You are burned out and you need a mental break.
Me: *INSTANT MOTHER TRUCKING RELIEF*
I kid you not, I was feeling achy and feverish and had flu like symptoms when I started the conversation with Jefe, and was immediately and miraculously HEALED after he told me to bag it (maybe a WWJD moment??) Probably more like Black Freaking Magic. In either case, it was the healing power of a good decision validated by an important person, or several…as my luck had it.
So there it is. I quit my 26.2 for October. Such has been 2014…quitting. E$ quit Soccer…and I quit some other things that weren’t right for us. Painful as things went, quitting made room for the right things. Perfect things (for us, anyway).
E$ and I found our mother daughter rhythm again…we discovered music blaring at 6am makes the day go better…and is far superior to tiptoeing around the house. We know that saying what we mean, at the very moment we feel it, is much more productive than having to wait for the right time (because the right time is always, now)…being on time to movies is way more fun than being late…impromptu playdates are better than planned ones…KIDZ BOP on the radio trumps any Top 40 station…less television and more talking makes for better evenings…
So that 26.2 I quit; the Columbus Marathon. I did the work. I went through the motions. My body was present. I delivered what I planned to. I know I love her, that temptress, but I just hated her. She wasn’t filling my heart…and she was taking more than she could give. Drawing on the spirit of E$, her fierce spirit, I followed her lead, and made room for a different relationship with the pavement- one that gives, just as much as it takes. In a very Ross and Rachel kind of way, we are on a break! I get to run with friends, when I want to, and because I want to. I get to have a cocktail on a Friday night and stay up a little later, because I am not worried about how my 20+ mile run will feel the next morning (we are on a break, after all). I get to bust out 6 or 10 miles at a quick ass pace, and give myself a solid “good game” when I have finished… because those runs are awesome now, and make me smile! I am in love again with my miles. I am pounding miles without obligation…and those miles are loving me right back, and haven’t asked a thing from me. I get to roll up 3 nights a week and watch E$ practice her love…and step out for a run halfway through. We are both getting what we want. We are both doing what we love, and what we love is loving us right back.
Here is my wish: That we all find a chance to consider quitting the things that aren’t working. Quit the thought pattern that holds you back. Quit taking the same route to work every day. Quit hoping to be loved, liked, wanted, or approved of by (insert your whoever here). Quit doing that one thing that you just hate, every day. When those things, and relationships, and patterns keep making you feel unwell…and heavy….dig deep, and see if there is some courage to say “I am quitting this. It is just not right for me, right now.”
Here is my promise: I don’t know why, and I don’t know how it happens, but when we clear out the things that aren’t working, the Universe has a way of dropping the right things in their place.
Photo cred: The Hartsocks