Miles 9 & 10

26.2 A SERIES

Everyone has dreams. Since I was about 16 years old, one of mine has been to run a marathon. When I cross the finish line in NYC on November 5th, I’ll likely do so with a recorded time of between 4 and 5 hours. In reality though, it will have taken me much longer to get there. There are things inside and outside of us that bring us closer to our dreams. There are also things that delay us, that push us so far away from our goals they are sometimes out of sight. If we are lucky, little by little, we are often able to transform those stumbling blocks into building blocks–they become the foundation for our strength, resilience, and ultimate determination. This series aims to uncover my long journey. Each week, I’ll share the people, places, and things that have brought me to the place I am at today, and that I hope will carry me from the starting line in Staten Island, to the finish line in Central Park. Mile by mile–this, is my 26.2.

Miles 9 & 10- Movies are Magic: Life Inspires Art…Art Inspires Life

If you know me and love me–well, even if you don’t love me, you probably know that I quote television and film constantly. Let’s face it, there are very few life situations that can’t be related to Seinfeld.

A few friends make fun of me because one of the movies I quote often seems incredibly random and even undeserving of a reference: The Holiday. There are actually several reasons I love this movie. I was only going to list the reason which is relevant to this post but now I can’t help myself. Quickly:

  • It’s a brilliant rom-com PLUS Christmas movie
  • Eli Wallach ♥♥♥
  • Jack Black’s character is obsessed with scores (like me!)

Ok, besides all these, I especially adore one particular scene. It’s when Kate Winslet goes to pick up Eli Wallach for their special night out and he gives her a corsage. He tells her, “Forgive me, the last time I had a date, this is what we did.” He continues, “If it’s corny, or if it’s going to ruin your outfit, you don’t have to wear it.” Iris (Kate Winslet) proudly loops the corsage over her wrist, smiles, and says, “I like corny…I’m looking for corny in my life.” Arthur (Eli Wallach), a retired, Oscar Winning Hollywood writer, looks up at her delighted and says, “That’s a nice line.”

I’ve always agreed with Arthur, that it’s a nice line. Even more though, I wholeheartedly connect to the sentiment. I too, am looking for corny in my life. It’s something I realized several years ago, when I finally let go of all my pretenses–I was never meant to be one of the cool kids. I live for life’s awkward moments–I love them, they are what made me fall in love with the man I am currently married to. I’m often moved, humored, and inspired by things that others deem cheesy or even embarrassing. With that in mind, I dedicate both Miles 9 & 10 to a few of my favorite films–features that have helped create, build, encourage, and even reignite my dreams.

“You’re all heart Rock.”

No one can tell me that there’s a better training montage than the one above. Rocky IV is not just my favorite Rocky movie, it’s up there on the list of my all time favorite films. What can I say? I’m a sucker for the David vs. Goliath match-up, I always have been. I think it’s because I have always considered myself an underdog–even when I’ve known that other people have not.

This is what comes of being the younger sister, of always being compared–usually negatively, to my older sister, and even at times, my older brother. I remember an old math teacher of my brother’s was at first delighted to have me in her 7th grade class. Then after a few weeks she told me, “You’re nothing like him,” as she shook her head and walked back to her desk. I knew it was my behavior and my lack of comprehension of the material that disappointed her–but her comparison did not move me to improve.

I love Rocky as a hero because he’s all about the work. He may not be smarter or faster or stronger than his opponent, but he always trains harder than anyone–his work ethic is unmatched. Once he gets in the ring, you know he’s done everything within his power to prepare, and all that’s left is that work–and guts. He’s all heart. This mindset is what I lead every single day with. I know that I’m never going to be the strongest or most talented–but I’ll give myself a shot every time with the way I’m willing to work. And while my real life opponents are more often inside of me than out, they are all eventually toppled, no matter how large they loom.

“I’ve been ready for this my whole life.”

 

“RUDY! RUDY! RUDY!” If the last scene in this movie doesn’t make you weep, perhaps you should check if you’ve still got a ticker in there. I love this movie. It’s for the dreamers. It’s for the people who don’t give up, even when logic and reason and everyone around them says their dream isn’t possible. I hope I am always one of these people–no matter my success, I hope I keep dreaming big and believing, even in the face of immense doubt and skepticism.

When Rudy’s teammate asks him if he’s ready to run out on the field, he responds, “I’ve been ready for this my whole life.” Every day that I visualize the morning of the marathon, that is the line that comes to my mind. The whole process of getting to this point–that’s been the miracle–it’s been the completely transformative, life-changing gift. The race is like the sausage on the pizza. (I was going to use the more comfortable and common metaphor of icing on the cake–but I actually prefer cake without icing, so it felt disingenuous.)

I know that the finish line is the prize–I get that, and I want it. But getting to that starting line feels just as big–since for years it’s been blocked by fear and doubt. I know not everyone gets to have the moments that they’ve waited for their whole life. The journey has been an honor. I hope the destination is just as thrilling.

“And when I run…I feel His pleasure.”

 

I don’t talk a lot about God on this blog–mostly because I’m not religious and I never want it to seem like I am. All I’m really looking to communicate at this moment is how I believe in a power greater than myself, and how that power has inspired my running. I can’t think of a more beautiful way to demonstrate this belief than discussing my favorite running film of all time, Chariots of Fire. 

Set behind one of my most beloved scores, the scene below, and others, changed what I believed about God/the Universe from a very young age. Before I saw this movie, I believed in heaven and hell; I believed there was some force living above us whose sole purpose was to dole out reward and punishment. All that changed when I saw that one of the main characters would not give up his dream of running in the Olympics to immediately jet off and continue his missionary work like his sister was pleading with him to do. She saw that work as his entire purpose. He did not. He believed that the talent he had for running was a gift from God, and that part of his life’s work was utilizing that talent to bring joy and hope into the world.

I believe that every person on earth has their own genius–something that’s been uniquely given to them. Unfortunately, not all of us mine our genius; not everyone has both the desire and the will to share their special gift with the world. Still, all of us have light buttons as well. These are things that we do that recognizably bring joy into the world–even if we are not the best at them. Perhaps these things are not our genius, but they are our tools for good; as we do them, the Universe smiles upon us and transmits hope and love and light into the world.

Running is one of my light buttons. It’s tough, it’s hard, and my body may not have been born to do it; but I know that my heart was. So when I’m starting to feel tired at miles 9 and 10, I have to remember that my effort and resilience can bring strength and hope to someone else. And so I know I that I must do it. Because when I run, I feel His pleasure. 

 

If you enjoyed this piece, I hope you might like to continue with the series… please consider following me through WordPress or through email by using the links on this page. You can also follow me on facebook  ~all support is appreciated. thank you. x

23 thoughts on “Miles 9 & 10

  1. With the amount of effort and heart you’ve put into training I’m sure the finish line will be an incredibly special moment for you! I’m hoping for the same. I’m excited to run with my dad and have my husband and toddler join me at the end and encourage me on to the end. They are often my why.

    Like

  2. Another really good post and an excellent tie in to movies. I haven’t seen Chariots of Fire in probably thirty years so I think I need to remedy that!

    Funnily enough it was a line from a movie that gave me the appropriate kick up the arse when I was at my lowest ebb during my PUFfeR exploits three weeks ago – the line from Shawshank to either “get busy living or get busy dying”. Slightly dramatic but it did make me smile and pick my feet up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love that movie, love that line Nik. Shawshank is one of my absolute faves. I think about that line often actually. I feel like it comes up a lot between my hubs and I when one of us is feeling stagnant or frustrated or like we are losing motivation. I am grateful we have each other–we can each give a kick in the butt to the other when we need it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My siblings and I have driven my mother insane many times over quoting Seinfeld. It’s such a disappoint to me that Chris doesn’t think it’s funny. Although, I’ve turned him onto the The Office and Arrested Development (another one I can liken to nearly any situation).

    And Rudy is just classic. As someone who only cries when an animal is in trouble or worse (Do not watch Fox and the Hound, Where the Red Fern Grows, or Old Yeller with me) I couldn’t stop balling whenever the players all put their jersey’s on the coach’s desk for Rudy to play in their spot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, great minds! The Office and Arrested Development are two of our faves besides the Sein!
      I cry at several times during Rudy–but I’m a crier. One of my fav parts is when he FINALLY gets into ND. I just feel like I’ve had similar moments in my life– it takes me a long time to get there sometimes 😍.

      Like

  4. ‘What life is for, if it is for anything, is to find out what you do well, and then do it, for heaven’s sake, before it’s too late’ Grace Butcher

    Great read again 😃 I love a good film for inspiration. Have you seen Race? The Jessie Owen story? That pushed me last year, got me proper motivated. I think it’s those stories of overcoming or just standing up for something you hold dear, that make the best ones.

    Keep it all up 😁

    Like

    1. Thanks man!! You know what’s funny? The first time I actually noticed my husband was at a big table full of people. I made a Seinfeld reference and no one else got it but him. That’s when I knew he was at least worth chatting to!! 😍

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You know since I did a movie post I had to have a music one in the wings as well–Eminem is definitely in there–I could not run without him!! Hell, I’m not sure I’d have gotten through a lot of life stuff without him–a few miles with him in my ears is the best release of anger I’ve got I think!!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Ahh, Chariots of Fire. One of my favorites, too! Each of us being our best selves and bringing forth that which is our unique gift/talent/genius is to me, the point of it all. Using our bodies and minds to express that which comes from our heart. I’ve been having a small conversation on a similar theme with Jeff Cann on his post today: https://jefftcann.com/2017/09/03/the-cost-of-blogging/. Each of us doing our bit, creates ripples that may have impacts far from their origin.

    Film, literature, role models, and sometimes the simple recognition from one human to another

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Steph, I will check out that post when I get on my computer, it won’t let me click the link on my iPad. I’ve been watching Chariots of Fire since I was such a little kid–it’s inspired me for years and years.
      You got it–the point of it all. Sometimes I think if we all focused a little more on our happiness, the whole world would be happier, because we would be bringing our best selves. Unfortunately, so many of us think that happiness is something to be sought outside ourselves, so it all gets pretty convoluted and messy and greedy. But yes, I guess what I can do is just trying to keep doing my bit, like you said. One foot in front of the other–always hoping I’m headed in the right direction.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. About once a month or every other month, we were allowed to watch that movie (and a few others) instead of going to church on Sunday. I think my parents just wanted a break themselves but they always framed it like we had a choice between the two. I always got more out of the films. I never found God at church.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Yo. Can’t beat Rocky for training inspiration. A few years ago Nike had a commercial featuring The Killers song All These That I Have Done (I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier) that is a great for running. But you have to be careful. It will make you run too fast.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so glad!! Yes, corny is good!! At some points I’ve even felt like this whole series I’m doing is corny but I’m keeping on cause I’ve committed to it, and cause I’ve promised to embrace that part of who I am, cause it’s really true. Thanks so much for reading!

      Like

  7. You make an excellent point and one that bears repeating time and again: Life takes work. Thank you for sharing that effort with us to show that things are possible.

    Your final example rings true for me as I am sure it does for others. We all have many gifts and using and sharing those gifts is the same as prayer. In my chosen faith that is a central tenet: Work is prayer; Service is prayer.

    “The work done by the individual in trade, craft, art or profession is the core of his life and not merely the source of his living. Work performed in the spirit of service can today be accounted as an act of worship. The obligation to work is essentially a moral obligation and one not discharged by possession of wealth.”

    This means if we find something we excel at and do it in the spirit of service to humanity it is prayer and we are obligated to do it.

    Keep running and keep motivating the rest of us to do so.

    Good luck on Nov 5th!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for this Josh. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a response that demonstrates such a clear understanding of what I was trying to convey. Can I ask where that quote is from? It’s pretty amazing. Thank you so much for your understanding and for sharing your own thoughts. And for the encouragement!!

      Like

      1. Cat, that quote is from the Baha’i International Community an NGO with the focus of “contributing to the construction of a more peaceful and just global order”. This is an oft quoted line in the Baha’i Faith of which I am a fairly recent member.

        I am happy that you liked the quote and grateful for sharing your experience. I look forward to your marathon recap!

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s