In a week, I’m going to run a half marathon in San Francisco to honor and raise money for the 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew from Prescott, AZ and all others that have given the ultimate sacrifice while on duty. Because of the growing popularity of the half marathon, I’m guessing most people know the distance is 13.1 miles. I have tried to run one or two of these a year for the last 5 years or so, and every time someone hears only the word “marathon”, they mistakenly assume I am running the more accomplished big brother, a full marathon. Then I’m forced to use the word “just” as I explain I’m running “only” 13.1 miles, and not the more impressive 26.2 miles. More often than not, the response is an indulging pat on the shoulder, cock of the head (as if to say, “isn’t that cute”) and the phrase, “Well, 13.1 is good enough!”. What does that even MEAN? Good enough for what?
We hear the phrase, “it’s good enough” probably more often than we realize. You might say it yourself more than likely. Conversely, we hear and say, “It’s NOT good enough.” Yet have you ever stopped to think about it? I certainly say it, and cringe, when I’m in a hurry and want to mark the task at hand off my list. I use the phrase when trying to placate people who are being too hard on themselves. But what DOES “good enough” mean to you? Does it mean full contentment with circumstances? Does it mean satisfying the dreams of your heart? Or does it mean going along, status quo? Is it settling for mediocre?
Back to the half marathon. This upcoming run is very different from the others because I haven’t had the time, the energy, the health or the motivation to put the needed hours and effort into training. Last year I ran a PR of just over 1:50. (My ultimate goal is to run it faster than Sarah Palin at 1:45. Don’t ask why. I don’t really know, it just is.) Each time I’ve run one of these races, I try to improve on the time before. With just under a week to start time, I’ll be lucky if I finish anywhere near that, based on all my training. So now I have to let go. Let go of unrealistic self-imposed expectations and just run. Run the race to finish. Run the race to honor others.
And that IS good enough, even if I tell myself my time isn’t good enough. Running the race to finish WILL be good enough. After all, I’m running to raise money for a very worthy cause. I’m running to remember. I should be running with my heart, not my legs. I should be running for the memory of those 19 firefighters and their ultimate sacrifice. Yet, I keep beating myself up for not putting more sweat in. I keep lecturing myself about half-assed efforts. I keep thinking of me, not those we are honoring. This isn’t about me, and any attempt to make it so just isn’t good enough.