Thursday, March 27, 2014

Watch me.

A friend posted this quote by Olympic champion Florence Griffith Joyner on Facebook this week: "When anyone tells me I can't do anything, I'm just not listening any more." This is is how I live my life. Please tell me I can't do something. That simply means I'll be motivated to do it. 

I'm not a parent yet, but I really love the unsolicited advice I already get. My favorites include, "Wait until you have kids. You won't be able to travel like you do now." Or "Wait until you have kids. You'll hate your dogs." Or any variation of "Wait until you have kids. You'll stop doing (fill in the blank)."

Here's the thing people - I have ZERO illusion that having kids will upend my life in a way that I cannot even possibly imagine right now. I'm not prepared for it, and I'm pretty sure nobody ever is. But if you think that these blanket statements won't motivate me to have the exact opposite reaction, you clearly don't know who I am.

In the summer of 2000 I was very sick. I lost 30 pounds, could hardly function, was not able to eat. I went to see a surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center who told me I needed surgery right away. I proceeded to inform him that I was starting law school in a month, and surgery didn't work for me. I suggested perhaps doing it over Christmas break or spring break. He laughed at me, and it turns out he knew best. I had surgery the next week. But despite his warning me that I wouldn't be able to go to law school I also did that, three weeks after major surgery. I also proceeded to have surgeries over Christmas and spring break during my first year of law school. Tell me I can't do something, and I'll prove you wrong every time.

When I started running I was amazed at how well my training was going until I started having major knee pain. It turned out to be a recurring IT band injury. My sports medicine doctor indicated that my knee cap pulls on the IT band, and it will likely never really heal as long as I continue to run. My solution? Keep running. Now 13 half marathons, three marathons and dozens of 5k and 10k races later (not to mention the training runs), I'm still a runner. I've managed to figure out how to manage my recurring injury, and I'm relatively healthy (with the occasional IT band tweaks). Tell me I'm not built for running? I'll sign up for another marathon.

Life is a series of challenges, and how you conquer the challenges is a testament to who you are.  When someone tells me something can't be done or shouldn't be done, my response is to say, "watch me".    

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