I started jogging many years ago and I love it. It is empowering. It is freeing. It is spiritual. But it didn’t always feel that way. Years ago while living in California I began to jog. I used to run 6 out of 7 mornings a week. I ran, a man made lake covering 155 acres of land right in the heart of Oakland. I’d always park my car in the same place, walk the same distance to warm up, start my slow jog on cue and feel as if I could not run another step in the same place. I used to call it, the “poop point.” It was the place where I would allow myself to quit.
"The place where I would allow myself to quit" -WOW! That’s scary isn’t it?
Do you have poop point?
Anyway, I thought that I was pretty good up to that point. For when I was in High School I ran track. 110 yard low hurdles to be exact, won many medals, but couldn't even make it one lap around the track at practice for the warm up. And that was just a quarter mile. So now running ten times that distance, I’m thinking was pretty good.
Okay. So one morning I was sitting on the side of my bed feeling thick, wishing I could find a trainer to work with. You see, by not altering my work out, I had hit a plateau, and it had long since stopped yielding any further weight loss. Deciding to do something different I chose to warm up on the stairs which were about a city block long or high, if you will. I passed this guy I'd often seen floating around the lake like a gazelle, he ran so effortlessly it was beautiful to watch. I said good morning to him and he responded by asking if I were going to run. Yes I told him. Then he said "I'll run with you."
Well, I was immediately intimidated. I mean, what I had planed to do, and what he did were two entirely different things. I said, "Oh no I don’t want to slow you down." He told me not to worry, that he would simply run with me. Man, I thought there is no way I’m going to be able to do this- but off we went. I swear I had defeated myself even before I had started, but I was determined to make it. Well at least to my poop point. And so I did. But once there, I began to slow to a walk. "What’s the matter ?" he asked. "Well, I always stop here" I told him. He asked why. "Cause I get tired!" I said, really wishing he'd just leave me alone so I could crawl to my car and go home- never to say good morning to him again. But he did not leave me, instead he too stopped running, and walked with me. I’m thinking, man, leave me alone! But he stayed.
Then after about a block he said "okay lets run again." Well why would I want to do that?!" I asked, and he said "because we are almost there!" And because he would not leave me, I started to run again. I was surprised that my energy was renewed and making it to the end wasn't that hard.
Upon reaching my car he said "now sprint to the traffic light" (about a half block away), and without even thinking that I couldn't, I took off so fast that I actually beat him. When he caught up with me he told me "You can run this whole lake (3½ miles) if you have this kind of energy at the end of a run!" Immediately I thought of my poop point, the place where I allowed my self to quit. But I did not protest when he told me to meet him there tomorrow at 6am, so we could run again. I ask him what his name was, he said "call me coach". And so I did (let me remind you to be careful what you ask for). I met coach every morning and by the end of the first week, I was no longer stopping at my poop point.
Then one day he said "you can run the lake 2x’s around" by now I knew that arguing with him was futile, but that's 7 miles I thought. Long story short, one month to the day that we first started, I did it. I could see him peeking at me from the corner of my eye, we ran the entire second lap in silence. I think he thought if he told me what I was doing, I might stop. But you see, I had simply removed my poop point and replaced it with a
. I ran with coach all that Fall. We'd run 10½ miles each morning. Though he could run circles around me, he always stayed by my side.
And to think in high school (at 15 years old) I could not run ¼ mile, but at 35 I was running 10+...
Where is your poop point? I suppose the better question would be, how far could we go if don’t stop ourselves?
And so this is what I know so far;
I learned a very important lesson about possibilities that day. I learned a very important lesson about myself. I learned, and that was just the beginning of seeing how far I could go. I’m sill going. Will I see you at the finish line?
Remove your poop points and meet me there!