I distinctly remember recess in elementary school.
The girls would all gather in groups and begin walking the perimeter of the basketball court or the kickball field or huddle around the teachers in case any errands needed to be run. I never hesitated to say goodbye to my girlfriends and head straight for the group of boys gathered to play football. The boys didn’t exactly welcome me with open arms (you know who you are but I have forgiven you your transgressions — mostly). I was always very good at sports — better than many of the boys who would rather I didn’t prove it on a daily basis on the recess football field. They would often huddle up to discuss the next play and then announce, “This is a boys only huddle”, I stood by waiting — I never left the game. It only made me want to practice harder, to improve myself, to come back the next day and show them I was better. I spent countless hours in my back yard with my brother working on the fundamentals… working on enhancing my foundation.
I’ve been thinking about the 5k a lot lately. Thinking it was really an amazing experience… one I trained for, one I promised myself I would follow through on, one I want to repeat. My preparations leading up to the 5k were meticulous. I ate well, I walked often, I timed myself, I bought new super cute clothes — I had it all planned out… I thought. I lapsed the last two weeks before the race — I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I barely exercised… I let life attempt to talk me out of completing this goal that was important to me — and it almost did.
Now that the race is over and I’ve been able to assess the good and the bad about what I did and what I can do better… it occurred to me that I forgot about the importance of a solid foundation — my shoes and my socks. I have good shoes… they were expensive and trustworthy and held together well under the pressures of getting on the treadmill each day. But, they were worn and tired and not quite up to the task of cushioning the blows to my feet and calves and thighs from the pavement below. And my socks… I never knew the importance of a good sock until the end of that race. I used my same old trusty socks that I had put on countless times — they always had been just enough before.
What I discovered early in the race that day, was that my trusted shoes and socks were not a strong enough foundation for the new challenges I was presenting to them — I needed an upgrade. I had worked tirelessly on preparing all the things I thought were going to be important… I prepared my body, I prepared my mind, I prepared my outward appearance — I forgot about preparing the core… the foundation on which everything else relied. The same old socks and shoes couldn’t handle the constant pounding from my stride against the pavement — they weakened my legs and my back and my arms and my thoughts… it was a chain reaction brought on by not paying enough attention to the foundation, not ensuring that it was strong enough for the new challenges.
It makes sense I guess, we think we have all the answers in our repertoire because we’ve experienced these things before and we handled them quite well in the past and we didn’t need to overhaul our foundation… our thinking… ourselves. But now, new challenges and new experiences force us to reevaluate our foundations. We have to look at things differently and seek upgrades in our life — upgrades can make all the difference.
So… since we’re talking about shoes and socks here, of course, my plan is to go out and see about upgrading my foundation — restoring some order to my life. Of course… we’re only talking about shoes and socks, right? So, what about you? Do you need to strengthen your foundation?