Sometimes I wish I could fast-forward life a bit. Don't we all? Of course we do; that's why the Adam Sandler comedy Click was made. But as that film demonstrated, it's really best that we don't have that kind of power. I like the scene when Sandler's character, Michael Newman (I looked it up-who actually remembers these things?) suddenly finds himself at an office party celebrating his big promotion after having fast-forwarded past several months of his life in which he had to bust his *** and sacrifice to earn the promotion. Sandler's character is less than halfhearted in accepting the congratulations of his coworkers because skipping the struggle to get where he now finds himself stripped away any possible satisfaction he could derive from his ultimate triumph. For all of Click's faults, there is an astute undertanding of human nature that informs this scene, which appeals to me especially because I have always been the kind of guy who would not want to win the lottery. Rewards are worse than meaningless to me unless I earn them. I don't mean to suggest that I am a tower of virtue; I've just always noticed that I feel like Adam Sandler's as Michael Newman at his promotion party when rewards come to me too easily.
There are times, though, when I would be sorely tempted to use a life fast-forward button if I had one. And now is one of those times, because of my Achilles tendon injury. The situation is this: I will run the Boston Marathon in three and a half weeks. I am in excellent shape. But last night I decided that my Achilles injury is severe enough that I must discontinue running and let it heal, lest the injury become so severe that I cannot run the marathon at all, let alone perform respectably. Intellectually, I know that if I cross-train aggressively-which I will do-I will remain fit enough to run well in Boston even if I can only do half as much running as I had planned to do in the next 24 days (and perhaps no running whatsoever for three or four days). But because I am a competitive endurance athlete and have the mindset of same, in my heart I believe that I will be fat and completely out of shape within a week if I don't continue running as planned. Having been through situations like this one many times before, I know that in perhaps 10 or 11 days I will do a challenging test run and be pleasantly surprised by my performance; thus, if I had a life fast-forward button right now I would want to use it to leap ahead to that moment of relief and skip past all the pain and worry and drudgery (elliptical training-ugh!) I will have to endurance between now and then.
The best I can do is remind myself what I would tell an athlete I was coaching who was in my current situation: "Don't worry, you'll be fine." And I would mean it. But it's different when the worried athlete is you. I suppose the other thing I can't remind myself is how halfhearted my celebration of finishing the Boston Marathon with a good time would be if I did skip over the challenge that is now facing me.