Thursday, September 30, 2010


Surrender. What does it mean? Giving up when we know that we have been beaten. Giving ourselves over to a power greater than ourselves. Letting down our defenses, our walls, and our prejudices. Raising a white flag, saving our own lives.

Surrender. It need not mean defeat, but rather the end of a practice that no longer works. Giving up on battles that do little but waste time, energy, and resources.

When my quad was torn in the course of the Pittsburgh Marathon, I reached a place in my running where the best option was surrender. I stopped and gave myself over to a power greater than myself, physical therapy. The way I had been running no longer worked, I needed to strengthen the weak parts of myself and in so doing pave the way to stronger running, and lessened injury risk.

Perseverance is a trait shared by almost every distance runner, marathoner. Tenacity and perseverance get us to the end of 26.2 miles, they get us through weeks of arduous training, The power to overcome physical and mental challenges, the knowledge of ones personal power is one of the sweetest lessons learned in training. The other side of the coin to perseverance is surrender. Yin and yang.

There’s a certain type of strength in surrender, maturity, self-knowledge. I find as I move farther down the road from novice and beginner that I now know my own body better, I have a better grip on my limits and in this I grow in humility.

I have often taken pride in my fierce independence, my grit, my determination and these traits have taken me far in my running life – but not until recently did I discover that softness, openness, and letting go of control are just as important.

Surrender, letting go, and listening to my own body and those who have come before me, emulating rather than competing. Knowing myself. Injury brought these gifts, and for this I am grateful.

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