I know that when Maya Angelou was writing she had no idea that I would use her elegant words to help a runner achieve her racing goals, but upon her death last week, I realized just how inspirational she was to my running life. I have learned many lessons in the process of reading her work and now, to celebrate her life and her great contributions to this world, it is my pleasure to share some of those lessons with you, in the hope that her words will help you become a better runner, the same way they helped me.
1. Nothing will work unless you do.
Yeah, that means we should stop whining about doing speed work and just do it. Wishing to get faster just is not going to happen no matter how hard you wish; you have to make the effort if you want to see results.
2. Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.
It takes courage to lace up your shoes and run. Maybe only because of the societal pressure, foolishly comparing ourselves to others, or whatever the reason. I count every day that I run a victory, and run consistently so I have consistent victories which requires consistent courage.
3. All great achievements require time.
Don’t I know lt! I placed in my age group for the first time at age 52, and it was a sweet feeling. When you make a goal, be patient with yourself and don’t let arbitrary time limits get you down. It may sound trite to say that just by showing up to run we are all winners, but it’s true when you consider that showing up is the first step toward achieving your dreams.
4. We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.
We all know that some runs just are not as awesome as others, but we still often struggle and find ourselves unhappy with our performances. There are times when I allow that to creep into the rest of my day making things miserable for everyone, but a run is a run, and there are always do-overs. Letting yourself feel defeated by a setback is okay for the first five minutes, but then it’s time to pick yourself up and run on to victory.
5. I believe that every person is born with talent.
Okay, so my talent is not that of an Olympic track star, but I still find joy in each step (most of the time). There’s talent in using that joy to inspire myself and others further on our journeys.
And a bonus quote:
The best comfort food will always be greens, cornbread, and fried chicken.
Add a cupcake and I believe it! Well…sort of. I do not eat this meal often; it’s a good thing that I do not know how to fry chicken very well! But I hope we can all agree that it’s great when running allows us our food indulgences…in moderation, of course!
Which quotes inspires your running? Do you remember Maya Angelou fondly?