Monday, April 22, 2013

Showing up

Woody Allen famously once said something along the lines of "80% of success in life is showing up." I don't objectively believe that this is true, because I know a lot of people who show up to a lot of things, without accomplishing much of anything. But I am totally on board with the general sentiment, and have found through the years that showing up to things I really didn't feel like doing has usually served me well. This is true in training, in work, and in life. And tonight was a perfect example.

Today was my first day back at work after nine days away at a three-day music festival in the California desert, followed immediately by a cross-country trip to Philadelphia for five days of meetings and a conference. I came home sick with a sinus infection and exhausted (a hearty traveler I am not), and faced a challenging day at work, but when I saw the announcements this morning about the different Boston Strong runs that were going on all over San Diego - and all over the country - I couldn't resist signing up. My favorite local running store (Movin Shoes) was organizing one-mile solidarity runs from each of their three locations, to raise money for The One Fund, providing assistance to individuals affected by last week's bombing. Today is my rest day, and I'm still fighting a nasty cough, but I figured I could muster a mile and a few dollars, in the spirit of The Runner's Hi.

But when 5:30 rolled around, I was singing a different tune. It was kind of a rough day at work, I hadn't eaten properly, and I was hungry, tired, and grumpy. I had a text message composed and ready to send to my husband to tell him I was going to skip the run and come home, but decided I'd just get in the car and see how I felt once I was driving. I knew I was running a little late to make the 6:00 pm run, so I decided that if I got to the decision intersection (where I would either turn north for the run, or turn south and head home) by 5:42, I would have enough time to make it, and I would run. Naturally, I pulled up to the intersection at 5:43. After a brief moment of hesitation, I decided that I'd really regret not going if I skipped it, and went ahead and made the left turn to go meet up with the group. Fortunately, I'd planned ahead this morning, and was wearing a secret sports bra and a skirt, and so was able to get completely changed while stopped at streetlights on my way. At 6:02 I hopped out of my car in full blue-and-gold running gear and headed for the Movin Shoes parking lot, where I saw a good-sized group assembled. As I jogged up, I thought I was seeing Meb Keflezighi (our great American marathoner) addressing the crowd, but was sure I was imaging it. As I got closer, I realized: it's really him! This was completely unexpected, and such a fun surprise! (He is a former San Diegan, but moved away several years ago - so no, it's not an everyday occurrence around here to just have Meb show up at your local running store's fundraiser.) I am a big giant nerd, so as soon as we finished our moment of silence, I walked up and told him how glad I was that he was there, that I (like most everyone there) was a big fan, and that I'd been there to watch him run in London this summer. A big smile crossed his face, and he said "You're so nice!" and reached over for a hug. I die. At least I hadn't run yet, so I wasn't sweaty. Right then, someone asked us all to get together for a photo, so he just put that skinny little arm right around me and we posed for this group shot. I just die.

Listening to Meb tell his story of being in Boston last Monday was sobering. He ended by reminding us that "tomorrow isn't guaranteed," which I thought about as we ran our group mile together. Every day brings opportunities to experience something we might never experience again. Some of it we get to choose, and much of it we don't. Tonight reminded me why, when given the choice between showing up or not, I usually choose to show up.


  1. WOW! You are so lucky and glad you didn't back out. I backed out of the Houston local run for Boston last Thursday. It was farther away and had been storming all day (trail run). Plus, I had to pick up my friend at the airport. So, I opted out and I wished I went. Oh well. And I basically missed every Boston tribute run after that one.

    1. I know, it was such good luck! Of all of the runs going on in San Diego that night, he showed up at that little one. Just makes you think about all of the things we miss on a daily basis. (But fortunately, we don't usually find out what we missed.) Oh well, indeed - we can't do it all!