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Time to Fly

“If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. And If you can’t walk, crawl! But do whatever you have to do to keep moving forward!”

– MLK Jr., 1956

MLK Day is one of my favorite days.  As a teacher, I loved teaching about him, what he believed, and how he fought for those beliefs.  I love that in a world that tells you that you have to fight and demonize those against whom you fight, there were those who chose another way.  In a world that is increasingly polarized, we could use a few more voices like his.

While I love the “I have a dream” speech (and I watch it pretty regularly), this is my favorite quote of his.  I love the juxtaposition of action.  We are told to crawl before we walk and walk before we run.  Dr. King here shows us a “downward” mobility.  Sometimes you will be flying and see your wings clipped.  Sometimes you will be running and pull up lame.  Sometimes you will be walking and get tripped.  Sometimes all you can do is claw your way forward inch by inch.  That’s okay!  The forward motion is the important part.  Moving forward, be it physically, mentally, or emotionally is the measure of success, not the speed with which you do it.

This lesson has obviously been driven home with a sledgehammer for me over the past year.  Even discounting the personal stuff that went on, I feel an even more intimate connection with this quote after IM Louisville and Redman.  In the course of one loooong day we can feel like we’re flying and suddenly feel like it’s going to take a miracle to get us across that finish line.  The picture above encapsulates the idea.  It’s Julie Moss literally crawling across the Ironman finish line in 1982.  The inspiration there is not only that she kept going, but that every single person watching in person and on TV was 150% behind her, supporting her.

I guess the lesson then is keep going!  While my life is not defined by the last couple years and I have absolutely had times in my life where I’ve flown, ran and walked, I have felt like I have been crawling through life for the past couple years, hanging on by my fingernails. There have been people around me who wanted to help me but I wouldn’t let them.  Now I am!  The support is there.  This race isn’t run alone, it just takes some of us longer to get it 🙂 Now I’m walking, tentatively jogging and anticipating the day when I will break into a sprint and the ground won’t be able to hold me for long!

So wherever you are, be encouraged.  Fly, run, walk, crawl . . . just keep moving forward!

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  1. January 17, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    fantastic post!

  2. January 17, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    LOVE this. That is one of my favorite quotes, btw.

  3. January 17, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Great post Mike!

  4. January 17, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Great post, Mike! Isn’t it amazing the things triathlon can teach you about life??

  5. January 19, 2011 at 11:40 am

    This is a wonderful post! I realized this year that I should be teaching my boys more of the words, actions and reactions of Rev Martin Luther King. I think it is so courageous of you to ask for and accept the support of those around you. Individually we can do many things, collectively we can do the impossible! Wishing you the best as you move forward!

  6. January 20, 2011 at 8:35 am

    I love this… just.keep.moving.forward.no.matter.what! 🙂

  7. January 20, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Great post! The highs and lows we all face in training and racing help us appreciate everything so much more!

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