Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Courage to Drop Out

Two days back, a friend stood at the start line of her first full marathon. She hadn't been keeping well and shouldn't have been running; but she hadn't wanted to back down. She took off with the rest, and maintained her pace for seven kilometers before the pain struck. She ignored the pain as runners train themselves to, but when she started seeing black spots in front of her eyes, she realized she could not go on.

I always thought it took courage to finish. Now I realize that sometimes it takes the same amount of courage to drop out.

A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.
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Carolyn Abiad said...

That's scary! Good thing her mind finally listened to her body!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I admire anyone who attempts such a feat regardless of how they finish. I hope she is OK now.

Mary Vaughn said...

To try is the greatest thing. To finish is just icing.
Hope your friend is doing well.

Holly Ruggiero said...

That is so true. Finishin gmeans nothing if you end up sick or damageed when you get there.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

She made the effort, but finishing wasn't worth serious injury or death. Wise choice!

Karen Walker said...

Wow, sure hope she's okay. Yes, it is also a lesson in not judging someone else's choices just by looking on.

Tina said...

Excellent point. I was a distance runner in high school and on until my 13th sprain of my right ankle when the doc said, "Find a new sport." I miss it every single day. My junior year cross-country coach was the best. He created such a community of trust and encouragement that we were able to make proper decisions about when to run and when not to. I truly hope your friend is OK.

sue said...

Yes, and this applies to so many life events: jobs, courses, relationships. Sometimes though, when people change direction, there's jeering to contend with, public disgrace, financial loss.
I'm pleased your friend made a wise decision - and that you're supporting her!

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Carolyn - absolutely. She is brave enough to have finished. Luciky she was wise enough to realise it was not worth it.

@ Jane - I used to call it the courage to start, and the courage to finish, but now I have added the third - the courage to drop out. All three are so important in anything.

@ Mary - I am starting to realise that only now. A year back, I would have finished at any cost.

@ Holly - I am glad I have friend who teach me these lessons.

@ Alex - in her place I would have pushed on. I am glad she didn't.

@ Karen - she is better now. She keeps referring to herself as "DNF- did not finish", and I keep telling her it is "the courage to drop out"

@ Tina - that is one marvellous coach. Most of them just push the kids regardless, and end up hurting them physically and emotionally.

@ Sue - absolutely. It is an example from running, but it is actually a life lesson.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I think that works for any project, including writing. Sometimes we even need courage to abandon a manuscript that's not working out.

David L Macaulay said...

Nice one Rayna - cool that you got it in 100 words...

Hart Johnson said...

I think that's so true--in fact I'm VERY BAD at giving up, even when it would in fact be the wisest course of action. I hope she has seen a doctor and gotten checked out!

Margot Kinberg said...

Rayna - You are so right. Sometimes you have to know when to stop doing something for your own sanity and health. An important lesson in a lot of areas of life...

slommler said...

It does take a great deal of courage to break from the pack and do what is best for you!
Well said Rayna

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Patricia- I was thinking of writing when I was finishing it. That's the thing about lessons- they often serve as metaphors for many other things.

@ David- thank you. And I am addicted to 100 words :-(

@ Hart- I was thinking of you when I was writing this, actually. And yes, I spoke to her a couple of days back, and she is fine.

@ Margot- precisely. What is the point of killing yourself to do something which is not literally a matter of life or death? Sometimes, giving up is a great thing to do.

@ SueAnn- not a lesson I want to learn, but one I am glad to learn, yes. And I love your new profile pic.


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