From 3rd Serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen
At the time, I was living in the Bay Area, and my mother had come to visit for a few days. On the last day of her stay, I was preparing to go out for a run. Working in a very negative environment, I found morning runs very beneficial. As I was going out the door, my mother said, "I don't think running is so hot – that famous runner died."
I started to recount what I had read about Jim Fixx, and how running had probably been the contributing factor to his living far longer than most of the other members of his family, but I knew there was absolutely no point.
As I started running on my favorite trail, I found I couldn't shake her statement. I was so discouraged I could barely run. I began thinking, "Why do I bother to run at all? Serious runners probably think I look ridiculous! I might have a heart attack on the trail – my dad had a fatal heart attack at 50 years old, and he was seemingly in better shape than I am."
My mother’s statement hovered over me like a giant blanket. My jog slowed to a walk and I felt extremely defeated. Here I was in my late 40s, still hoping for an encouraging word from my mother, and equally mad at myself for still seeking an approval that would never come.
Just as I was going to turn around at the two-mile mark and head for home – feeling more discouraged than I could recall in years – I saw an elderly Chinese gentleman walking toward me on the opposite side of the trail. I had seen him walking on other mornings; I had always said "Good morning," and he had always smiled and nodded his head. This particular morning, he came over to my side of the trail and stood in my path, forcing me to stop. I was a little miffed. I had let my mother's comment (coupled with a lifetime of similar comments) ruin my day, and now, this man was blocking my way.
I was wearing a T-shirt a friend had sent me from Hawaii for Chinese New Year's – it had three Chinese characters on the front, and a scene of Honolulu's Chinatown on the back. Seeing my shirt in the distance had prompted him to stop me. With limited English he point to the letters and excitedly said, "you speak?"
I told him I didn't speak Chinese, but that the shirt was a gift from a friend in Hawaii. I sensed he didn't understand all of what I was saying, and then, very enthusiastically he said, "Every time see you. . . you very good. . . you very fast."
Well, I am neither very good nor very fast, but that day, I left with an unexplained bounce in my step. I didn't turn from the trail where my previous dark mood had intended, but continued for six more miles, and you know, for that morning I was very good. I was very fast in my spirit and in my heart.
Because of that little boost I continued to run, and I recently finished my fourth Honolulu Marathon. The New York Marathon is my goal for this year. I know I am never going to win a race, but now, when I get any negative feedback, I think of a kind gentleman who really believed, "You very good. . . you very fast."
Kathi M. Curry