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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Brick by Brick

I wanted to find a quote that I know exists to help illustrate my point today, but I have just wasted the past half an hour looking for it. It's something along the lines of how Rome wasn't built in a day, and that it would need to be built brick by brick. I want to say that it's a Caesar who says it, but I have searched the Internet far and wide and I can get a couple of quotes that are close, but they aren't what I'm looking for. Does anyone have an idea of what I'm talking about? (I actually think the quote is used in "Seabiscuit"; maybe I'll have to go home and watch that to find the full quote.) Anyway, if you're better at finding quotes and you can find what I'm searching for, let me know.

Otherwise, I guess I'll write this entry without my brilliantly used quote -- dammit, it was going to make me look smart too.

Oh well. So my point: I've been feeling frustrated with my running because my progress is so slow and sometimes I feel as though I'm not making any headway at all. But yesterday I read an article in "Runner's World" that helped me feel better. The article was a typical RW story about someone who overcame an obstacle to run (they love those stories, and I suppose they are inspiring, but inspirational stuff sometimes makes me want to vommit -- too sentimental, Halmark-y). The redeeming quality about the story though was the guy who was the focus and who was interviewed. He said, "Our society has become so quick-fix oriented that nobody wants to work over a long period of time for one goal. They want it now." And he goes on to contribute his success to "determination and time."

Those comments changed my attitude. Running is hard work and to improve is going to take time. Even though I've been running consistently for the past six months doesn't mean that I should have achieved perhaps the unreasonable goals I thought I would. What I have to do is think about how far I've come and keep working to consistently improve. It's true what this runner says: You have to work over a long period of time, and it is a lot of work. However, I think that's why running is so appealing to many people because this kind of work ultimately has a massive payoff. Anything that you have strived toward for a long time feels good when you finally reach your goal, and as we all know, the only things worth having are those that we've worked hard for. Those that achieve success easily are unappreciative of what they gain (and according to my mother, they are called spoiled brats).

Thus, my missing quote about building brick by brick. It seems like a simple and obvious answer to how we build, but it is also very wise. Everything is built out of small accomplishments, small pieces that add up. Eventually you get the Parthenon.

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