Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Perseverance

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope your week is shaping up to be an awesome one filled with successful runs, workouts, and all good things. It’s 51° here in NYC and if that isn’t reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is.

I am inspired by recent events to highlight Perseverance as this week’s BTAT theme. No one worth anything got anywhere in life by trying once. In fact, some of the most successful people in the world were told “no”, “it’s not good enough”, “go away”, “you’ve failed”, and “quit now while you’re ahead” more than any of us have ever been told. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Helen Keller, Hillary Clinton…the list goes on and on of trailblazers who heard the word “NO” and kept on trying anyway.

Perseverance.

Do you think Kara Goucher has never lost a race? Or Ryan Hall? We’ve seen them lose, fail, and quit mid-race in very public arenas. And then we see them at the next one, like the one last weekend in Houston that determined who is going to represent our country in the marathon at the London 2012 Olympics. Guess who made the team? Goucher and Hall.

Perseverance.

It’s easy to give up, especially when you have a great reason. Only you’ll know if that great reason really is a reason for giving up or if it’s an excuse. You know what’s harder than giving up? Persevering is harder. It’s a gut-wrenching, pride-swallowing, frustrating thing to do but you owe it to yourself to try to Persevere. To go on when it’s impossibly hard. To fight back when you’ve been knocked down. To try again after such devastating disappointment. It’s hard. But you’re worth it.

Try. Fight. Work harder.

Did you have to DNF (Did Not Finish) a race? Do it again. Are you recently diagnosed with an illness? Work with it. Did you fail a test/semester/drop out? Go back. Did you get hurt training last time? Train smarter this time.

Why Persevere?

Because success might be within your grasp, only you won’t know until you try.

Because you owe it to yourself to put in your best effort every single time, not just the first time.

Because you’ll get better with practice.

Because there is help if you need it.

Because someone out there is looking up to you.

Because you’ve come too far and worked too hard to give up.

Because you can.

Because at the end of the day, don’t you want to say with confidence that you gave it your all? And for that matter, if you have the opportunity to try again and to Persevere, that is a gift in and of itself. The alternative is what? No second chance at your dream? At your race? At life? Not everyone gets the second chance to succeed that is standing in front of you. Come on. You can do it!

I am in awe of those around me who Persevere day after day. I see them and I am inspired. They encourage me to keep working hard, to keep trying. And when Perseverance gives way to success, I am only that much more inspired to keep at it. Thank you to all who show me the way. And that is what makes today Better Than the Alternative.

“Opportunities are disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them” -Ann Landers

Now go out and run!

Who/What makes today Better Than the Alternative for you today? Tell me about it. Oh, and in other news: I GOT IN! I am officially a doctoral candidate at NYU’s Steinhardt School for Physical Therapy beginning this summer. Woohoo! 

Yeah, baby! I'm a Violet...or a Wildcat, whatever. Wooohooo!

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: The Do-Over

Happy BTAT, everyone!

I don’t golf. I have tried. I hate it (sorry golf-lovers, it’s just not for me). My people are not a golfing people. Anyway, there is only one thing I love about golfing: the Mulligan. There are conflicting reports of where this time-honored tradition came from, but the long of the short of it is that a Mulligan is a Do-Over.

I’m a big fan of the Do-Over.

I love the idea that I can change my mind. And I do. Often. I mean, hellooooo? I am back in school in my thirties so that I can earn a degree in physical therapy and I am a good ten years plus older than everyone else in the room. Little late to the game? Sure. Better late than never, though. Big-time Do-Over.

I love having the freedom to try, screw up and try again. There was a great article in the New York Times recently that highlighted one principle’s theory that children need to learn that failure is ok and that it teaches them strength of character, a trait often missing in children and adults who have never ever failed. I can’t say that I love the feeling of failing, but when I try again and succeed, that success is so much more celebrated.

I love that forgiveness is in abundance in my life. I forget things, especially now that I have school brain, and the amazing people in my world are so incredibly forgiving when I completely flake out. Thanks for the endless amounts of Do-Overs, everyone!

I love that if I suck at something, I can always try again. I have the Philly Marathon in 5 weeks and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit nervous. Running during my first serious colitis flare-up in New Jersey last May was such a terrible experience for me that I’m nervous Philly will be more of the same. I thought Jersey would be my PR and it was anything but. I guess the only way to wipe the slate clean is to attempt a Do-Over. Thankfully, Dr. Boz and I have a plan in place and new drugs doing there thing well in advance so that this attempt to PR Do-Over will be a successful one. If not, there’s always next spring. But isn’t it great that one crappy (haha! great pun) race doesn’t define my entire running career? Love it!

Whenever I think of Do-Overs, I think of City Slickers when Mitch (Billy Crystal) and Ed (Bruno Kirby, oh RIP) console Phil (Daniel Stern) by telling him that, although he married a monster and slept with the check-out girl at his father-in-law’s store, he can still have a Do-Over, just like when they were kids. Awwww. He just has to do it for himself. I love that. I couldn’t find that scene, but here’s another gem (PS. Did you know that’s the very hot Jake Gyllenhaal playing Billy Crystal’s son?!):

Anyway, life kind of is just one big Do-Over, if you think about it. We are constantly changing, or wanting to change, who we are, what we look like, how people see us. If you want to redefine yourself, your life DO IT. Don’t wait. Don’t care what people will say. Go with your gut.

And that’s why life is so much better than the alternative, because of the Do-Over. Hooray for a fresh start.

Now go out and run!

Have you had a life Do-Over? Where did it take you?