I sat down on the recumbent bike this morning intending to peruse The Washington Post from cover to cover. My plans changed when I saw a stray O magazine sitting on the ledge of my apartment complex’s gym.
Yes, that’s O as in Oprah. This may seem like an unlikely source of motivation and competition for long-distance running, but me and O have a bit of a history.
A week before the 2007 Nashville Country Music Marathon, when my taper was almost complete and it was far too late to change anything about my training, I picked up the Runner’s World Women’s Guide to Running for some light reading and inspiration.
One chapter started by noting that Oprah had put in several 50-mile weeks before running her 4:20 marathon. This was supposed to be motivational for “regular” runners— if Oprah can do it, anyone can!
It was like I’d just been passed by the guy running in the Sponge Bob costume (which actually happened to me once, but that’s another story). I never hit 50 miles in a week, and I will confess here that I did not beat Oprah’s time. Oprah isn’t the only reason I’m hoping to try another marathon later this year, but if I do find myself at the starting line of the Marine Corps Marathon this fall, I will most certainly be looking to beat her time.
The issue I tore through on the bike this morning was just as motivational, but for a different reason. It was all about getting back on the wagon. For Oprah, this meant curbing her recent weight gain, which she details in the magazine. But the underlying theme of forgetting about perfection, letting go of past mistakes and looking toward the future can apply to anyone struggling with any goal. I’m going to try to keep it in mind next time I slack off during a speed workout, skip a cross-training day or choose the chocolate cake rather than the strawberries for dessert.