Nov 2, 2021 • 3M

A lesson in perception from my first half ironman

To run or not to run.

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Bobby Dysart
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Today’s intention is:

To act.

You can always correct course. You can always adapt to a new environment or obstacle. You can always turn back. But you can’t do any of that if you never begin the journey. Get moving.

On Saturday morning at 10:10 AM

I climb off my road bike and walk into the transition area of the Alpha Win Palm Springs Half Ironman. As I bend to change into my running shoes, a savage pain rips through my left knee, like it might snap off if I move it any further.

I’m 57 miles into a 70-mile race. I’ve prepared for months to get to this moment. And now I have to consider my knee may not be healthy enough to run 13 miles. Grimacing in pain, I slip into my running shoes, stand up, then hobble around hoping it will subside.

What if I have to quit a few miles down the road?

What if no one is around to help?

What if I injure myself and am unable to walk for a long time?

More questions rush my mind. I can complicate the situation as much as I want. But it boils down to a simple decision.

Do I run and see what happens? Or do I stop because I think it’s too risky?

See what happens… With our decisions, isn’t that really all we can do?

We don’t know the consequences of our actions before we take them. That’s the mystery of being human. That’s the beauty, too.

Even when we’re certain X will lead to Y, it rarely does. Our assumptions are surprisingly inaccurate. Better not to make them and instead, embrace the unknown wide-eyed and curious.

I start jogging with a slight limp. The first mile routes through grassy hills. I deliver each step with intention and grace to keep from rolling an ankle or hurting my knee further.

Moving onto the pavement, I pick up speed. A few miles in, my pain disappears. My breath and the desert scenery steal my attention. Other racers serve up smiles and positive messages. A few onlookers wave cowbells and shout “good job” as I pass.

94 minutes later I cross the finish line. I averaged just under 7.5 minutes per mile which is the fastest I’ve run such a distance. I didn’t know I could run that fast.

This week, will you run and see what happens?

Or stop because you think it too risky?

Not every action results in positive surprises. But each does lead to knowledge and understanding. Cede to our perceptions and we remain trapped in a cloud of contemplation.


Don’t wait. Start small. Learn as you go.


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