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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Week 4 - The one about the traffic jam

I live in Los Angeles.  Traffic and traffic jams are a way of life.  All those who live here understand that painful experience of sitting in traffic.  Rush hour can change a 20 minute travel time into an hour.   An accident on the 405 can derail a day at the beach.  It is something we here in LA live with day in and day out. 
On Saturday morning, I went to my early more training run, - six miles of blood, sweat & tears.  Okay, not true.  It was six miles, it was tough, but I got through it.  No blood.  No tears.  Just sweat.  I cooled down and stretched a little before climbing into my car for what should be a 12-15 minute drive home.   Then, as I pulled on to the 101 freeway, -- there it was, a parking lot of cars.  I sat, and waited, and waited and waited.   I made a few calls and answered some emails on my blackberry (that’s right, it’s illegal, but I did it anyway).  I waited for over 40 minutes to go…1.3 miles.   That is longer than it takes me to run 1.3 miles!  Traffic cleared and shortly thereafter I arrived home to a wonderful afternoon with Justin & Oliver. 
By yesterday my memories of the traffic jam had faded.   After all, this is LA, and these things are a way of life.   Then, I received the weekly email from my coach.  She quoted a sign she had seen recently that said:  “You are not stuck in traffic. You are traffic.”  She used this to illustrate a message about perspective and how we are all a part of something larger.   It was a useful and timely message, but it made me rethink my time in my traffic jam.  I have a slightly different take-away in light of my current endeavor. 
I was feeling a little stuck before I started training for this marathon.  I wasn’t exercising regularly, I wasn’t eating properly, stress from my job was really getting to me.  But just by starting to train I feel like my wheels are turning, and I am moving forward.   We are each responsible, in our own way, every time we get stuck, whether it is because we chose to drive a particular road, or whether it is because we ourselves stopped.   That means that we are also responsible for changing our direction.

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