Relentless Forward Progress is One Step at a Time

My run (34 / 80 kilometers) this past week reiterated to me that relentless forward progress isn’t about how fast you’re moving but about MOVING. It’s so easy to stop and think, “Well, gee, I’ll rest for a minute and pick back up and go.” I’ve found that this is rarely the case.

On a steep switchbacking singletrack in the Copper Canyons, I was barely walking. Getting passed by other runners and beginning to wonder, when is this going to be over? All I could do was keep moving forward, one step at a time, poco a poco. This was one of the most beautiful, yet also one of the most treacherous, parts of the run. Even when the stair-stepping rocks stopped, the trail was still winding uphill. Just keep moving forward. You’re doing great, I thought. When, after the next aid station, the trail began to level out and slope down, I knew my painstaking work had paid off. It didn’t matter who was in front of me or behind me, but now I could run. Slowly at first, and as the slope steepened, I opened my stride, leaning downhill and just keeping my feet underneath me, paying attention to foot placement of each step on the rocky and dusty trail. When the next hill came and steepened going up, I slowed my run to a walk, resolved to keep moving forward and trusting that there would be a reprieve and a chance to fly fast.

This may not be a recipe for winning races, but I think it is a good reminder for us winning the runs of our own life. Keep moving forward, and know that relentless forward progress happens one step at a time.