Thursday, June 7, 2018

Perseverance: Alan Shepard

Alan Shepard was the first American to fly in space May 5, 1961. On that 15 minute flight he had four minutes of weightlessness. On his second space flight he walked on the moon on Apollo 14 on February 5, 1971, almost ten years later. In that time he had experimental ear surgery and for a time wasn't even allowed to fly airplanes.

I'm having some sort of issue, that started in March. My running has fallen off a cliff the last two months. I've been to the doctor three times with no positive test yet. I can still run and bicycle 100 miles, but not at the pace I am accustomed to exercising. I am tired frequently. Of course, I have a high bar for energy, and my work or socializing or flying hasn't been affected, I just can't run an 18 minute 5k right now, maybe not even 20 minutes, which is odd for a 15:44 5k guy who was in great shape six months ago with no injuries since then.

Point being, it can be easy to look at my life and the week I am in and get discouraged based on the best races of my 32 year long life, but it is relative. Two weeks ago I had a great four day hiking trip to Colorado and climbed three mountains. Sometimes I worry about being hit by a car and never being able to run or walk again. And my philosophy is I need to be grateful for the past experiences I have had, and look forward from where I am, not where I have been, even when the path I imagined is not strait at all. Today at work I was asked if I plan to climb all the 14ers in Colorado, and for the first time in writing I will admit, yes, I do, because why not? I've already done 22.

Sometimes a goal can feel hopeless and unachievable. Recently an American record holder I admire admitted to alcoholism and entering rehab. Sometimes in rock climbing a person is just hanging on, not climbing but hanging there, about to fall, but not falling. When you test your limits there are failures and setbacks. Hopefully they can be learned from, which leads to my favorite question. What is possible? Without perseverance, like Alan Shepard, we might never know.

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