What if you were able to look into a crystal ball to see your future, would you want the news? If you are still not sure let’s up the stakes a little bit, let’s say there was some science to support the future you saw and that it was very likely that the fortune teller’s prediction could come true, now would you look? I recently received a future of my own and in terms of being an endurance athlete it is probably some of the worst news you can hear. You can’t tell by looking at me but I am already a misfit when it comes to the endurance world, the “runt of the litter” you could say. One of my legs is shorter than the other, I have a bone spur in one foot which will probably require surgery, and the recent gaze into the endurance crystal ball shows that I have a very crooked pelvis which is starting to wear more on one side than the other. You could compare me to a car with one flat tire and a bent frame, a good “grocery getter” not quite suitable for the family vacation! I am not even 30 and my thoughts immediately went to the future, what will this picture look like in another 30 years? Will I even be able to walk let alone run 100 miles? And for the first time in my life I was told, “Your body just might have a limit.”
“Your body just might have a limit”… this phrase has haunted me now for the last few days. Never once had I considered that I might have to back off or even give up on the thing I love the most. As a personal trainer and endurance coach it is my job to tell people that they can keep going, that there is no limit to what they can accomplish. Am I a hypocrite for having a body that might just hold me back someday from doing what it is I set out to do, and do I slow down now to try to change my physical future? Like a train barreling down the tracks to the edge of a cliff, do I put the brakes on now to avoid tragedy?
To answer this question I looked to a friend of mine, we will call him John. John is 35 years old and at the age of 29 was in an accident which paralyzed him on one side of his body. He can no longer live on his own nor do the things he loves the most like drawing, working on cars, and skateboarding. John might never have the opportunity to raise a family… John might never be able to tie his shoes by himself. When I run, I think of John. He will never run, or do the simple tasks that many of us take for granted. What if he had seen his future before it had happened, would he have locked himself in the house to try to prevent the accident from occurring?
The truth is that although we sometimes get glimpses of the future, there is no crystal ball for any of us. I could slow down now to reduce the stress on my crooked back, or I could live for today and make each moment a moment to remember? To me the question is rather easy to answer. So going back to my Doctor’s comment that, “your body might just have a limit,” I disagree! Today, there are no limitations! And as I am running along the mountains of Colorado this summer, I am going to throw that crystal ball over the biggest cliff I can find!