So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
I read that out loud to my kids tonight. They were lying on either side of me, heads against my shoulders.
I wish I could protect them somehow, or prepare them better. That my thoughts would float above their heads and settle in somewhere. To go easy on themselves. To forgive themselves. To believe in themselves. I wish I could form a wall around them that would block any pain that will come their way in the coming years. I wish I could wrap them in my arms and hold them so tightly that they’d never question all the unanswerable things in this world.
I wish I could protect their innocence.
It’s heartbreaking, you know. Being a parent. My heart constantly walks around outside of my body. I am a prime target for pain, because I have no protection anymore.
Last week, I spent one evening hunched over an excel spreadsheet, creating a training program for the Ottawa Marathon in 2011. I poured over the calendar and the books I have. I’ve even incorporated a half in February, to break up the training.
Earlier this week, I attended a Body Image conference at a local university. In the past five years, I’ve felt neutral about my body, loathed my body, and looked at my body as a tool for breeding and feeding children. It wasn’t until I started running long distance that I began to appreciate my body. That I began to see the purpose behind my solid thighs, my thick calves. Sure, I can’t pull off skinny jeans (or, more literally, I can’t pull on skinny jeans), but what do skinny jeans really matter?
It isn’t about jeans at all, you see. It isn’t about beauty or weight or skinny or curly hair or anything you have or don’t have. It’s about belief and confidence. It’s about being right with yourself. Because until you’re right with yourself, you won’t be able to be anything other than intimidated by the strengths and accomplishments of others.
So here I go again, committing to another marathon. I’m not great at balancing things, so I know that there will be weeks when the laundry gets pushed aside for a long run, and there will be long runs that make me question my ability to keep going, and there will be flirtations with injuries and burn-out weeks and tears an frustrations throughout the next seven months.
But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get tired
and your sneakers may leak.