A long time ago I noticed that certain kinds of films usually had one thing in common. Instantly recognizable, it plays a major part in nearly every movie involving a quest, contest or competition. I think you know what I’m talking about already.
You know that sequence, the one where the character(s) train like crazy over a series of days or weeks or months and they’re in different costumes and locations from shot to shot and then at the end, just 5 or 6 minutes later they’re all fitter than ever and are total experts at whatever it was they were training in.
I know, I know my description is kinda lame. Wikipedia describes it so much better than I can.
“The standard elements of a sports training montage include a build-up where the potential sports hero confronts his failure to train adequately. The solution is a serious, individual training regimen. The individual is shown engaging in physical training through a series of short, cut sequences. An inspirational song (often fast-paced rock music) typically provides the only sound. At the end of the montage several weeks have elapsed in the course of just a few minutes and the hero is now prepared for the big competition.”
Yeah, that. The montage. And until recently it’s always made me just a wee bit jealous.
For years I’ve wanted a montage of my own. I would daydream that we could all of us get one montage in our life, and when it was my turn I would choose a ‘ training’ montage. Just imagine it. I would start off a total beginner, let’s say it’s martial arts; my montage would start and I’d nervously put on the outfit for the first time and step into the classroom. I’d fall to the floor a lot at first, wincing as my shoulder or hip hit the ground, but getting up and trying again. The music of course would be epic, and I would practice in my bedroom or on my way to work and then be back in the classroom and then all of a sudden I’d do a perfect roundhouse and my confidence would soar and my montage would pick up the pace and before you know it there I am with my blackbelt, all fit and healthy and confident. And all having taken place within the space of 4 or so minutes.
Oh wouldn’t that be wonderful?!
But of course, life isn’t a movie. Life is never a movie. Life is hard work and in order to ‘get’ a montage, we need to ‘make’ the montage happen ourselves. No director with his slick editing and epic music is going to step in and speed up life and make me a better, fitter person or faster runner in a matter of minutes.
It’s entirely up to me to make my own montage come true.
So imagine this instead. Cue epic music track and lighting. Background! Annnnnd action
I lace up my shoes one summer evening and nervously head out my front door, wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt. The city streets are busy, traffic and people going about their business as I walk down a hill and end up on the sidewalk alongside a river. I pass a lamppost and slowly, apprehensively, begin to jog. I make it to a tree about 100 metres down the sidewalk before I have to stop and walk, out of breath but with a smile playing about on my lips. Cut scene. I lace up my shoes and head out the door and walk down that hill and get to my lamppost and slowly, but more confidently, start to jog. I pass the tree I stopped at previously and keep on going. Cut scene. It’s sunset (cue gorgeous lighting). I’m at my lamppost, wearing a new running shirt and jogging past the same tree with confidence, in fact I jog a full kilometer before I stop to walk, punching the air in triumph. Cut scene. I’m wearing my running gear, complete with reflector arm bands, running at night. This time I run down the same hill I’ve always been walking down. Cut scene. Now I’m running UP that hill at the end of a 3k run. Cut scene. I’m wincing and putting an ice pack on my hip. Cut scene. In yet another new running shirt I run across the finish line of a 5k race. Cut scene. I proudly brandish my first medal. Cut scene. I’ve just crossed the finish line of my second 5k race. I’m sweaty and smiling and healthier and happier than I’ve ever been before. Cut scene. I’m running, again at night with city lights reflected in the river, passing all my previous landmarks until I’ve run over 5k (as seen on the brightly lit screen of my smart phone). Cut scene. I’m online, signing up to my third 5k race. Cut and print.
It’s a wrap!
You see that right there, what I’ve just described; that’s my montage. Over the last six months all those scenes have been played out in my life. It’s my running journey so far, and I know I’ve got so much farther to go. But for now, it feels amazing. This journey and the changes I’ve been making in my life. It’s amazing because right now, this life I’m living with my running, this….this is my montage.
It certainly IS hard work. And I am loving every second of it!