“Cowards die many times before their deaths,
The valiant never taste of death but once.”
Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare
This quote was used today in another blog I follow and really struck me. I have known brave people in their career but fearful to attempt to run a 5K let alone a marathon. I have known amazing athletes who live in fear of failure in sport and in life. Living in fear, regardless of the fear, is not living. It is merely existing.
“The valiant” at first thought brings to mind successful, strong and mighty people. I beg to differ. That is the outward shell. It is Tuesday and I am finished lifting and sitting poolside at my fitness center. For the past half hour I have watched several swimmers go back and forth. One gentleman close to me was swimming freestyle with what is one of the longest slowest strokes I have ever seen. The guy next to him lapped him time and again. But he was doing it. He is not avoiding the pool because he is not fast. He didn’t stop once to catch his breath. He just kept going. Valiantly. Merriam-Webster defines valiant as “worthy, strong, courageous”. Strong is not necessarily measured by physical power, but emotional resolve. The Cowardly Lion was the King of the Forest and afraid of his shadow. Until he realized his courage was inside of him all along.
This morning I ran a 30 minute tempo run. I stayed within the pace ranges I set out along with the times for each pace. I averaged 10:29 minute miles. To some this may be slow and hardly “tempo”. A running equivalent to the swimmer this evening. To me, it was a workout I could not have done three years ago. But I did it today. I am only competing against myself to improve upon my own ability. The area I have improved the most in, however, is not in my physical strength but in my emotional resolve. I am worthy of calling myself a runner and triathlete. Strength and courage are forces I draw upon daily, by God’s grace, to face my physical challenges. Emotional ones sometimes too.
I don’t want to merely exist. I want to thrive. Living each day knowing I gave it my all, even if that is a rest day. I want to do it valiantly.