When we moved into our house, I was about 6. My Dad very firmly told me, this being the first (and last) non-rental house for my parents, "NO POSTERS ON THE WALLS." Therefore, I proceeded to completely cover my walls with posters. I think there were several on the ceiling too. I vaguely remember my Mom running interference regarding my Dad's initial fuming response to this. My Mom was also very good at closing the door to my room to avoid looking at the mess. My Mom kept a very clean house.
I am reflecting on this as my high school coach is retiring and I look back at those days of running, when my wall was plastered with inspirational quotes and pictures of runners and newspaper clippings about our cross country team. My Dad, who clearly knew this battle was lost, even contributed one thing to add to my wall to ceiling to wall collection, which was a litany of failures Abe Lincoln had prior to becoming one of the most revered Presidents ever. The guy lost. A lot. This was somehow reassuring to me, as I was never the star of running on a team of very fast girls. I was usually in the top 5, but never the one that won. And I had braces and was really awkward. Even more awkward than I am now!
One of my posters was of Alberto Salazar. First of all: cute. Second of all: fast. Third of all: tough as nails. I just listened to his book 14 Minutes. I came away from it thinking he is kind of intense. Sort of how Mount Everest is kind of tall. The book is advertised as some sort of treatise on cheating death, but it really is not. He beat the odds, no doubt, but it seems to me that the book is finally about passion and presence. Closeness to God, awareness of what is beautiful and real, and never taking it for granted.
Also, it is about running, and he was such an animal! He would define me as a "citizen runner". I am thinking of getting a t-shirt made.
Alberto Salazar says something in his book that more than any of the other stuff (living through cardiac arrest, mystical Catholicism, 4:20 mile repeats) stuck with me. It is that you have to state a goal to reach it. Yes, stating a goal does not guarantee success, but until you state it, there is no skin in the game.
I just want to run a PR in the marathon. That's all. Also likely a more realistic goal than keeping as clean a house as my Mom.