Rerun: 5 Lessons from Lilo

This post was originally published on March 2, 2012.

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Have you ever wondered what Lindsay Lohan can teach you about running? Well, wonder no more!

1. If you have naturally beautiful auburn hair, don’t dye it blonde.

2. Stage moms, drugs and lip injections are bad.

3. Stealing jewelry and drunk driving will get you in trouble.

4. Don’t party in Cannes on the same day that you have a court date in L.A.

5. Talk is cheap.

Ok, so this list of 5 things is itself a little cheap. The only one that really counts (for most of us, anyway) is that last one. Talk is cheap. Let me explain.

Several years ago Lindsay Lohan was a precocious teenager with the world at her fingertips. She was adorable, scrappy and clearly talented. She had several movie projects and a singing career and Aaron Carter. (well, the first two were evidence of how great she had it).

LiLo in her auburn-haired prime.

And then she started partying and then being known more for her partying than her work. And now she hasn’t worked on a movie or an album or anything really in eons and there are obituaries written about her ready to be posted at the first mention of her overdose. It’s sad really.

LiLo, the party years.

But all along, LiLo has talked about her desire to win an Oscar, to be at the top of her craft. With her wraspy smoke addled-voice and hung-over glassy eyes and her overly-plumped limps, she talks about her career aspirations during her post-conviction or post-rehab stint interviews. Just yesterday morning on the Today Show Matt Lauer asked an almost unrecognizable Lindsay where she hopes to be in five years. She answered, “hopefully I’ll have just come back from the Oscars this weekend.”

I hope so too. But Lindsay saying that’s where she wants to be isn’t going to make it happen. It’s like she’s resting on the reputation she had as a 15 year old and feels entitled to be an actor with the Oscars within her grasp. But what about the 1000’s of other actors working their tails off day and in day out just scraping by with hopes of being an extra on Law and Order? Why is this young woman with huge gaps in her resume more worthy of acting’s highest honor than any of those folks?

It’s like Shalane Flanagan dying her hair red, quitting running to pick up smoking and becoming sedentary for 10 years and claiming she will one day win the Olympic marathon.ย  It doesn’t work that way. Our past does not entitle us to any particular future.ย  Because we once ran xx:xx time does not entitle us to run it again or to run any particular time in any particular race, no matter what we state our goals are.

In fact, if attaining an Oscar time goal is the only reason we’re acting running, well we’re not likely to get very far. While defining and articulating goals is critical to improvement in any discipline, respect for the process and full immersion in that process is the only real way to achievement.

It’s hard to understand because we’re told from a young age that we can do anything if we just put our minds to it. It makes it sound like all we have to do is think something and it’s ours! When in reality it’s more like, if we use our minds to articulate a goal and figure out a systematic process and work really hard at it then we put ourselves in a position to achieve it. In terms of running that means we can pick a race time goal, come up with a training plan and a realistic time frame and go for it. If we put in the work, do the track workouts and the tempos and the long runs over time we will improve and make the attainment of those goals possible. But there aren’t any guarantees. Or entitlements.

That’s ok. In the process are all the life lessons and crazy stories of workouts gone awry and opportunities to bond with friends. The process is what enriches us, not our race times. The value in running is the act of running. Just talking about it is cheap.

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Salty Running boss and mother of 3 little ones with PRs of 3:10:15 (26.2), 1:25:59 (13.1) and 18:15 (5k). I love to write about running culture, mental training, and fitting in a serious running habit with the rest of a busy life.

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