I just finished reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Without giving too much away, it’s a great read and I highly recommend reading it if you want to be inspired. One of the quotes that comes up throughout the book is “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” (fun fact: the word conspire comes from the latin routes con- and spirare- which mean “breathe together” and I happen to have SPIRA (breathe) tattooed on my wrist… hmm!) The book is about fulfilling your “personal legend” and makes strong references to paying attention to omens. While reading the book, I have a) become confused as to what exactly is my personal legend and b) started to notice signs and miracles that have really helped me to move towards my goals. One of my goals, of course, is to conquer cystic fibrosis by running lots and lots! This isn’t always easy, especially since now I am training for a half marathon. But this weekend, all the universe did, in fact, conspire in helping me achieve my goal.
Realizing that the half marathon is fast approaching, I made it a goal to run 8 miles by July. So this week I set a goal to run 7 miles. I went out on my 7 mile run even though I hadn’t stuffed myself with enough carbs the day before, was slightly dehydrated, stayed up late the night before, was around cigarette smoke and was feeling wheezy, and hadn’t had much of a hearty breakfast. All of these usually would be a perfect excuse for me to NOT run 7 miles…. but the air was finally dry and not humid and this was my only chance! So I filled up my mini water bottle and got going. Once I was about a mile into my run I realized that I had forgotten to do my Advair, and added to the smokey lungs and dehydration this was not a good combo! Then, at about 3 miles I had only a tiny sip of water left. With no short-cuts home (that I allowed myself to see), I had no choice but to finish the run without water. My mouth was dry and my lungs were rapidly drying up. I could feel my head start to spin as dehydration got the best of me. I desperately tried to figure out how to get water without stopping my run. I ran by the local Mary Lous coffee and considered going in and begging for a sink. Not wanting to look like a complete freak, I vetoed that plan.
I ran another mile and started desperately looking at the sides of houses to see if they had a hose or a spigot. I spotted a house that did and then started thinking about what would happen if someone came out. Not wanting to explain myself, or get kidnapped, shot, or arrested… I quickly vetoed that plan too. I started thinking about The Alchemist and how silly that quote was. “Running is part of my personal legend” I thought to myself “Come on universe!?” I finally gave up and started walking saying a quick prayer to Nana to help me out of this one and when I looked to my left I saw a business that operated out of a warehouse. On the side of the warehouse, just a few yards away, was what looked like a spigot. I ran over to it, and when I got a closer look, it WAS a spigot. Luckily, it was a Sunday, so they weren’t open to see me robbing their town water (it was only a lil I swear!). I turned the knob, praying to please be on, and out came beautiful, cold, fresh water. It was truly a miracle. I didn’t care how clean it was, I was THIRSTY.
Filling up my water bottle, I tried to contain my excitement. I chugged two full bottles. Never in my life has water tasted so good. And suddenly, my head cleared and I was ready to finish my run. I filled my bottle up, clipped it in my holster, and I was off! I refused to walk for the rest of my run and was full of energy. My favorite running song (Shut it down by Pitbull) came on my ipod and I was cruisin! I felt so accomplished to have run so far under such dire conditions. What surprised me the most was how good I felt for the rest of the day. I of course, chugged some water when I got home along with a protein shake. But for the rest of the day I didn’t feel tired or exhausted.
I now understand what Paulo Coelho meant by the universe conspiring to help you towards your personal legend. If it wasn’t for the fact that I just so happened to see that tiny water spigot, I probably wouldn’t have finished that 7 mile run…. I most likely would have collapsed from dehydration. But because of that run, I am stronger than I was the day before, and I am ready to move forward in my goal to run 13.1 miles. So the lesson here is just when you think you have to give up on your goal, you just might find that the universe gives you a miracle.