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September 4, 2010 / elodie kaye

Hope and Fear

For the past year I’ve kept in my grip a goal, really more of a hope, that some day I’d post another PR.  It’s not exactly outrageous since my last PR was only a few years ago, but a lot has happened since then.  I’m much slower than I expected, even by my standards.  My setbacks this year have been minor, but I haven’t had a clear win at anything either.  So my hope has lived alongside a small, but present fear.  I’ve been carrying them both all summer, on long runs, up hills, in the heat, and on the trails.

Today, I did not carry either.  Autumn came.  It came on a cold, west wind that is already claiming a few golden leaves from every tree.  I ran a perfect run without hope, without fear, without expectation, with nothing but the wind and my legs.  These six miles floated above the context of what has been, and what is to come.  They were everything and they are enough.



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  1. Geoff Cordner / Sep 4 2010 10:26 pm

    It sounds to me like you’ve had a clear win at enjoying yourself. Sometimes that’s harder to accomplish than a PR.

    • elodiekaye / Sep 5 2010 1:10 am

      I guess I shouldn’t take it for granted that every run will be a blast, huh? I should remember this lesson more clearly, I had a horrible slump in May that lasted a month. What I really need is to adjust my perspective so I stop thinking in terms of wins and losses. I’m actually pretty good about running in the moment, but it takes me a little time to get there, and then it vanishes once I stop moving. This was the first run where I managed it from the very start. Next, I need to work on sustaining that peace past the run.

      I got that advice about resisting the context of what has been, and what will be, way back in the spring. I’ve honestly been trying since then. I just couldn’t quite manage it until now. Your explanation about reality and suffering helped I think.

  2. Jim in Maine / Sep 5 2010 3:35 am

    Simply and nicely stated Elodie … another prespective … it is 4:30 in the morning. I should be lacing my shoes to go out and ran 12 miles. Instead I am waiting for the sun to rise to ride 18 … this is only day two.

    • elodiekaye / Sep 5 2010 11:51 am

      Jim, I feel for you. It’s very, very hard to accept an injury, and resist constantly looking ahead to the day when you can run. Even when acceptance might be the best way to heal, it’s scary. It’s the fear that accepting might mean defeat.

      I hope it doesn’t come to that for you. With any luck, the MRI will rule out a stress fracture and you’ll be mended up in two weeks. In the meantime, maybe give the riding a chance? It can be a lot of fun. 🙂

  3. Anne / Sep 6 2010 5:21 pm

    There’s nothing like a little nip in the air to get you to tuck in and greet your new you. Don’t discount the rough patch, but it’s nice to adapt a positive attitude to the present instead of dwelling on the past and pinning everything on the future. As they say in one of my favorite songs, “Mark this moment as yours.”

  4. gpetitto / Sep 7 2010 11:01 am

    “These six miles floated above the context of what has been, and what is to come. They were everything and they are enough.”

    YES! They are enough! Wonderful!

    It’s so hard, as a runner, to run beyond the numbers and to not chase an unreality. I still chase the specter of the runner I wish I had become had I made different decisions in the past. What a waste! Running is fine now where we are. No, it’s better than fine, it’s tremendous we’re able to run like we are. Not to say we’re not going to keep challenging ourselves and getting better, but our improvements are way beyond anything that can be measured by distance or time or some combination of the two.

    Keep going, Elodie!

    • elodiekaye / Sep 7 2010 12:22 pm

      Right back at you Greg:

      “our improvements are way beyond anything that can be measured”

      I’m so glad you commented! The first post I read of yours touched on the same theme I’d been puzzling out since the spring, except turned on its head with smoke coming out of its ears… That post and some conversation elsewhere all seemed to converge at once, and percolated in this great run. Thanks!

      • gpetitto / Sep 7 2010 1:32 pm

        It’s fascinating how things come together like that and suddenly we’re in the midst of a moment of awakening. I think it’s an invaluable realization, and one I keep having to relearn, that we are able to live in the midst of appreciation for all that is now while still devoting ourselves to positive change. I think it’s our birthright to be able to settle into the awesome depth that is available after letting go, even if only for an instant, of all that pulls us away from a deep appreciation of life as it is.


  1. Harvest « runaway life

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