I realized later that I hadn’t seen the whole post, the entire paragraph. There was a quote, then a line space, and at the bottom…
I love the assignment part I commented on the post, thinking the assignment was one word, to focus on today, to make the most of it.
The person commented back that I could download the app and it would give me a new assignment every day. I took a closer look and saw that the word today was only the first word in a multi-sentence assignment. I wasn’t interested in the entire description of the assignment (hardly read it) or the app, particularly. I had already decided that my assignment was today. Just today.
Today. An optimistic word full of promise. Today. A fleeting notion. Today. Something that definitely needs to be grabbed onto and made the most of.
This wasn’t a new revelation for me, this embracing of the gift of a day. It just reiterated for me how I shouldn’t waste precious time, moments, or – the worst – an entire day.
Earlier that morning, I went hiking with a friend and she told she was thinking about doing a sprint triathlon coming up in September.
“I just need to commit. Commit to the training,” she bemoaned.
“I’ll do it with you,” I said.
I spit it out, before I could think about it, before I could tell myself no.
“I’ll train with you.”
“Really? You will?” she asked, stopping in the trail, ahead of me, and turning back to look at me.
It wouldn’t be my first tri. I’ve done several since I started running about six years ago. Most triathletes have to conquer the swimming portion of a triathlon, already being capable enough of the running and the biking. For me, the swimming is the easiest part and the pedaling isn’t so hard either; it’s the running that kills me. I am a slow runner. And I’m especially slow after swimming, riding my bike, and then attempting to run.
I’d pretty much written off any more triathlons and any serious running training as well, for that matter. In fact, I had just recently decided that I was only going to run, ever again, if I felt like it. I wasn’t going to push myself. I love exercise and I do all sorts of it and I figured it was no big deal if I ever ran again. I wasn’t that good at it anyway, even back a few years ago when I was running a lot.
But there is this secret inner part of me that still wants to be a runner, that wants to be stronger, that wants to lose the 15 pounds I’ve gained since I quit running on a regular basis. And that secret inner longing was probably what made me spew the words, “I’ll do it with you,” before my brain could really think about it and override the pact I was about to make.
My friend and I hiked to the high point on the trail – Eagle Wing – where we finalized the commitment to train together by taking our official commitment selfie.
On the way down, we made a training schedule. We decided which mornings we would swim, when we would run trails, and that we’d have to squeeze biking into evenings and weekends.
From now on, starting today, I am in training. I will write a weekly training plan and try to stick with it, taking it one day at a time, focusing on today, doing my best, and then moving on to the next day.
I must admit I’m excited. I didn’t want to be done being a runner (slow as I am, a runner who runs on a fairly regular basis, runs a few races here and there, and enjoys the benefits of a leaner and stronger body), but I was definitely in a slump and developing a negative mindset, thinking I was too old to run and that I was never meant to run anyway.
But today is a new day. And I’ve got a new challenge and a new focus.
Randee Bergen is a single mother of two teenagers and an elementary school teacher.