This is something we tell each other when we are doing something difficult, something draining.
I can remember saying it to my kids at their track meets when they were getting ready to run the 400 or 800 meter. It's something others said to me in the past when I was running too many different directions at once and they could see it taking its toll on me.
I have spent my life trying to learn to pace myself. And only recently have I learned that I am a sprinter, not a marathon runner. Sprinting is in my nature. Can a sprinter run a marathon? Yes, but we do it differently. We run until we can barely stand; we rest and recover. And then we do it again.
Maybe that's not a healthy way to do it. Maybe it's not the way a marathon is meant to be run. And maybe, just maybe, my life is not a marathon. Maybe my life is a series of sprints.
Either way, my nature fits my life. The older I've gotten the more I can look back and see how past events prepared me for the future. I was recently able to reconnect with someone who knew me when I was fourteen. When he spoke of his memories of me from that time, he said that it seemed like I was always running.
And you know what? He was right. For the most part, I experience life as a series of sprints. I am either running or standing still. Now, while standing still I review and plan, but I don't act. And this is how I have always lived my life.
And I am grateful. Because it has prepared me for where I am now.
You see, I no longer experience a day -- or even a minute -- without pain and fatigue. I am always tired and I always hurt. Always. A good day means a little less pain and not quite so tired. A day when I can function and get a few things done.
So on those good days, I sprint. I do all I can. And when the good day passes I rest, review, and plan. If I didn't know how to sprint, I don't know how I would get through this time. I don't know how I would go on.
But because of the incredible preparation I've had, I can get through.
And I am grateful for this awareness. I am grateful that I can give myself permission to run my own race.