I wasn’t bitten by a spider or dunked in radioactive waste. I am not from a far away galaxy. Still, I seem to have developed a super power. Okay, it might not be a real super power but it is a power that I never expected to find within myself.
For most of my life, when it comes to my goals, I have been Little Miss Rigidity. Even as a child I was single-minded when it came to meeting a goal. As an adult this rigidity has caused me more trouble than I care to mention and yet I still found myself pushing toward goals that I should have given up on. The biggest area of rigidity for me was in my running. I would schedule a marathon, come up with the training plan and run – no matter what. You might think I would have learned that this was not the way to go after I ran the Fort William Marathon in Scotland with a fractured tibia and had to take six months off of running because of the damage caused. But, no. You might think I would have learned after completing three months of training for the Baltimore Marathon with a stomach virus from hell. But, alas, no.
This year I ruptured my plantar fascia. This injury did not develop overnight. The plantar fascia had been hurting for 18 months and yet I ran. The morning it finally ruptured, I knew something was exponentially worse than it had been and I decided I would go to the doctor – right after my speedwork. So I hobbled to the gym and started the workout telling myself that I would stop after the warm up if it was still hurting. Of course, Little Miss Rigidity didn’t do that. I decided to see if the first set of sprints would make the pain go away. It was only a minute into the first set that I heard and felt the pop.
After weeks in a boot and months of physical therapy, I still signed up for two marathons this fall. I had a goal, dammit. I had to qualify for Boston. My single mindedness found me aiming at the goal no matter what the foot was saying. Until, somehow, I found I had been bitten by that spider or dunked in radioactive waste and suddenly I was Elastigirl. Suddenly I found myself enjoying the cross-training Coach Jeff had scheduled into my training plan to bring me back without injury. Suddenly, I found myself being honest about the pain in my foot. Suddenly, I found myself with a super power that allowed me to step back and be honest about my chances of qualifying for Boston in October.
In the past this decision would have been gutting. I would have spent weeks mourning the loss of the marathon, cursing my foot and crying into my Gatorade. But this time, I found a freedom in giving up the goal. Instead of looking at what I was losing, I was able to see the possibilities that it opened up. I could see the possibility of running pain free and not worrying about pushing through the pain that was already beginning to resurface, but more than that, I was able to see an opportunity I had missed in the past. This year instead of running sick or injured, I will be riding. I have the chance for the first time in 16 years to ride the Sea Gull Century in Salisbury, Maryland. It has been there all the time. It was a possibility so many times in the past but I chose to ignore it in pursuit of “the goal.”
So, no, I am not “faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.” But I am able to bend and make choices beyond the goals I have set for myself. I am able to change things up a little and work towards something new. I am Elastigirl.