“We All Want Impossible Things.”

“You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain.”

Tom Hiddleston

We all want impossible things.

Even as I write this, the ego in me stutter steps its way through my fingertips, prompting me to delete it, to rephrase it, to take the insinuation back – that anything is “impossible”.

But it’s true.

As it seems to me, at some point in time and in one way or another, we all want impossible things.

From the perfect body, to the perfect relationship, friendships that never end, and dogs that never die – we all tend to wish for things that simply can not always be.

Recently, I’ve been doing a fair amount of philosophizing. I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe it’s a mid-life crisis? Or a mild case of imposter syndrome? Or maybe it just has to do with this new year and more of a restart than usual, thanks to the level of progress I’ve made in my injury recovery plan these past few months?

Whatever it is, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the future – which, of course, is foolish because there’s no way of knowing what the future holds. Nevertheless, I’ve been thinking about it – and the monstrous sized goals that I’ve set for myself, looming there, in the not so far off distance.

Whether or not I will actually be capable of achieving those goals is, obviously, yet to be determined. But, as I’ve been thinking more and more, I’ve found myself asking “what if” quite a lot.

One thing I’ve noticed, in all of my what if-ing these past few weeks, is that I’ve begun to question everything, including some things that I thought were etched in stone.

What if I do “X”?

What if I don’t?

What if I keep doing what I’ve been doing?

What if I change the plan?

The point of all this thinking is not to make any rash decisions or, prematurely, cancel any plans – but rather, to open myself up to the many possibilities that currently lie ahead of me. It has allowed me to think about things from a different perspective which will, hopefully, enable me to make the best decisions for myself, moving forward.

I think a lot of us runners see ourselves a certain way – a sort of running identity, so to speak. A “trail runner”, for instance, or a “road runner”. The “front runner”, “middle of the pack runner”, or even “the caboose”. But what would happen if you were forced to question all aspects of your running? Would you make a major change, moving forward? Or would you throw in the towel, refusing to see yourself as any runner other than that which you have always been?

As far as I can tell, the biggest road block throughout my journey thus far has been the fact that I refuse to acknowledge limitations. I simply cannot bring myself to say that “I can’t”.

I know that I am different now. I feel it every day. Even so, I have the most difficult time accepting this reality. So, rather than focus on all the things that I can no longer do, I am choosing to focus on that which I can.

In a perfect world, we could make some major changes to what we’re doing that would help me to dramatically improve overnight. But, in the real world, it’s wiser for us to play to my strengths with the goal of making marginal improvements over time, rather than risk further injury or some massive regression – especially when what we’re doing seems to be helping. So we’ve made some subtle tweaks. We’ve doubled up on the number of strength training sessions we do per week, yet dialed back on a day or two of my running. I’ve recalculated and completely readjusted my future running plan. I’ve acknowledged the fact that I need to change my focus – because taking one small step forward is way better than taking two huge steps back.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, and are unsure of what to do – keep moving forward, no matter how slowly the process may be. Because when it comes to major overhauls, especially when recovering from significant injury, it’s a whole lot easier to get worse than it is to get better. And being hard on yourself and pushing for more before your body is ready will rarely ever help you or get you to where it is you want to go.


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