Ugh!!! Flexibility is not in my vocabulary. I wish it were. In no way, shape, or form, am I flexible. Some people seem to just go with the flow. I admire them. They can change plans, change gears and change their minds like most people change their underwear. For me, don't be late, don't change the location of the meeting place and don't change my workout plans.
I'm the unyielding oak among the free flowing willows. Ask my daughters. Ask my friends. Ask my family. They will all tell you the same thing. Some call it stubborn. Others call it strong willed. Whatever you call it, this inability to bend invades all aspects of my life. This discipline is not just in my psyche, it's in my bone and muscle fiber too.
Four years ago I thought I'd give yoga a try. I had read about the benefits of stretching your muscles while improving core strength in this meditative environment. I was so committed to giving yoga a try that I purchased a 10 class punch card to the local shala, my own yoga mat and a yoga starter kit.
I was like a piece of peanut brittle in a chocolate truffle factory. I remember attending the first class and attempting poses with crazy names like barking dog and spaghetti pretzel. Or, something like that. I recall glancing over at one fellow classmate that had the body of a suma wrestler. I thought to myself if he can do this, I can. He proceeded to bend over and place his palms flat on the ground while I couldn't get my finger tips passed the top of my knees. I swear he didn't have a bone in his body. It was like watching a bowl of Jell-o exercise.
While all this sounds pretty negative, there are some positives. You want someone like me on your side to get a job done. Tell us something can't be done and the impossible suddenly becomes possible. There is no quitting. We don't cave in. We do whatever it takes to reach the goal.
How does this steel will help and matter in marathon training? Last weekend, my training schedule called for a 14 mile run. I mapped out the 7 mile one way course and set out with my oldest daughter on her two-wheeler to log the long run of the week. We left early in the morning to beat the midday heat. Two miles into the run, thunder and lightening were surrounding us like gravity. We turned back and headed home for shelter.
Once we got home, I told her to put her bike away while I continued on my trek. Despite her pleas for me to stay home and let the storm pass, I told her that this needed to get done. One advantage to having run the past 36 years of my life is that I have numerous courses of various distances pre-mapped in my mind. Knowing that I had already completed 4 of my required 14 miles, I set out again and started recalculating distances, routes, etc. to complete my task.
As the rains came, I received a few calls on my cell phone..."Dad, when are you going to be home? It's really pouring out there." It didn't matter. I was on a mission. "I'll be there when I'm done running" I replied each time.
When I finished, I was soaked from both sweat and rain. Of course, an hour later the sun was out drying up all the early morning moisture.
So, what's the moral of the story here?
• For those of us that people think are too strong willed or stubborn...it's not such a bad thing. We accomplish a lot. Maybe we don't do it with a lot of finesse....but we get the job done.
• Stick-to-it kind of people are probably more flexible and creative than we realize and get credit for. After all, I was able to my change plans and my course and still accomplish the task and goal at hand.
• After this marathon...I need to sign up for yoga again. After all, I'm an open minded, flexible person now. I need to try new things...again.