I was reading Ultrarunning Magazine the other day. The very first article was about reflecting on the past year. It closed with the phrase, "May your every run be a great one," followed by the signature of the author. Reading that, something inside me scoffed at Karl. I let out a somewhat mocking chuckle. That phrase didn't sit well with me.
You see, not every run is going to be great. I know from experience. Too much experience... I think that's why I reacted with so much negativity to that phrase. It's wishing its readers something impossible. If your runs aren't all great, then that's normal. We all have runs that hurt, that take way too damn long, that are accompanied by shit weather. The list goes on. Perfection doesn't exist here. Everyone knows that. And I'm sure we're all aware that things aren't always great. They can't be. And they shouldn't be. Runners know this. And this an ultrarunner's mantra.
While the great runs are, well, great, the not so great runs have their place. Maybe even more so than the great runs. It's the hard runs that teach us how to suffer. They teach us what we're made of. The hard runs bring us to our limits and dare us to cross them. They teach us resilience. That no matter how much you hurt, how tired you are, how uncomfortable you feel, no matter what, you must keep moving forward if you want to succeed. The hard runs are the runs we remember. They become the stories we tell that inspire those around us. The hard runs make us stronger. They become the, "Well, if I can that, I can _____," reference points. It's the hard runs that change us. Not the great runs.
Life's the same way. In the movie Creed, Rocky Balboa is spot on when he says this:
"The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean nasty place and I don't care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. Nobody's gonna hit you as hard as life, but it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! Now if you know what you're worth, go out and get what you're worth. But you've gotta be willing to take the hits and not point fingers saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him or her or anybody."
There is no progress without struggle. And the road to success is filled with all kinds of struggle. But its not the strongest or the fastest or the smartest or the most attractive that succeed. It's not the ones that have it all together. Success belongs to the ones who are great at suffering. It belongs to those who can take hit after hit after hit and keep moving forward.
So, I hope there are things in our lives that go wrong. That knock the shit out of us. I hope we bleed a little bit. And experience some pain here and there. I hope that not everything in our lives is great, but rather that our lives are great.
Because greatness is not defined by perfection, but resilience.