The Drive to Succeed


Waking up to my digital Woodland Birds at 5:15 Saturday morning wasn’t too difficult. I suppose it’s because of all the effort I’ve expended in resetting my body clock this week. But the reason for rising early was not for marathon training—it was swimming day for my kids.

There are many small villages in Germany, but mine is the only one I know with more cows than people. There’s no school, no post office, no store, no quaint German tavern, certainly no swim school—just farmers and cows. Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. There is the horse vet in town. And the motorcycle shop. I own neither a horse nor a motorcyle.

Our swim class is held in a town over 40 kilometers away from here. For my American friends, 40 km is nearly the distance of a marathon, approximately 26 miles. On Saturdays, I load up the kids and make the 40-60 minute drive, depending on tractor-factor, to arrive at swim lessons by 7:30am.

When I first realized I was driving a marathon every Saturday, the distance overwhelmed me. It was like I was looking at that B road through a tunnel, and it was ready to cave in on me. It sounds strange, I know, but I couldn’t help feeling the distance would somehow obliterate me. My friend at swim class, a veteran marathon runner and mom of four, told me to not think about it. But I couldn’t help it. On a drive that sometimes seems to take forever on wheels, how could I possibly accomplish it on foot?

In my report cards from elementary school, my teachers always added comments such as, “Keri is a dreamer,” or “Keri has her head in the clouds.” I was constantly in trouble because of my imagination, which was directly linked to my mouth. But in marathon training, I’m realizing that imagination can be a good thing.

On my long drive yesterday, I cleared all the traffic. I wasn’t driving, but I was running. I envisioned myself steadily plugging away at the hills and letting gravity bring me down again. I imagined my breathing pattern, what my arms would look like, what my legs and feet would look like. I saw myself looking up at the sunrise and listening to the birds as they awoke. I let the serenity of the scene sink into my mind (while obeying all traffic laws, of course). When I reached the finish line, (i.e. the parking lot of the Schwimschule), I felt as if I had actually accomplished something.

And maybe I had.

The distance no longer swallowed me up. I might be out of my mind, but the distance seems doable. I know I have the drive to succeed. Now we’ll see if I can train my body to comply.


Miles: 4

Terrain: Treadmill time again! I ran slow and watched Doctor Who and Romana uncover the secrets of the Pirate Planet. They just missed the second Key to Time.

Extra: 15 minutes doing core strength with the little kids—they are hilarious members of this team. 15 minutes upper body with the 11 year-old. After the workout, she drew a picture of me at the finish line (I was wearing my Supersuit).

Overall feeling: This marathon isn’t just about me anymore; the whole family is getting involved, which pleases me to no end.


One response »

  1. Keri, what a wonderful description of your village, your life, your thoughts, and your goals. In my mind, you have already conquered the marathon just by your practice, mental and physical.

    Ghanim and I thoroughly enjoy reading about you and the Fab Four. You are a terrific writer! I love how your writing starts with “me” and then turns into “we”. You are very realistic about your life when it comes to being a mother. But do continue to daydream…with your head in the clouds. I think it is absolutely necessary for a creative person like you.

    Remember…do your stretches.
    Tia Carolyn

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