Interview with Alberto Salazar

I love hearing stories about people who have undergone significant life change. Last night, I was reading an interview with Alberto Salazar from the October 2007 edition of Runner’s World magazine. The interview took place following Alberto’s surprise heart attack and near brush with death. Here’s an excerpt from Amby Burfoot‘s interview with the distance-running legend:

RW: Hearing your story is taking my breath away. What’s it like for you to relive it?

AS: Every time I think about it, I’m shocked that I’m still alive. I can’t believe how blessed I am that this miracle took place. It’s hard to think that I was basically dead for a certain amount of time, and now I’m still here. It’s very sobering. For a couple of days, I was going to sleep at night wondering. Am I going to wake up in the morning?

Now I’ve gotten over that and moved on to the reality of my situation – knowing that I’m going to face this again, maybe from my heart, maybe not. Maybe I’ll see it coming, maybe I won’t. But it’s going to come again. And that makes you think, Are you prepared? It forces you to delve into every part of your life. You think about things you’ve put off, regrets you might have. You begin to ask: Do I have some unfinished business? Have I let old disagreements get in my way? Have I left certain words unspoken to my brothers, father, sister, friends?

And it makes you think: You know what? I’m going to take care of all this stuff now. I’m going to start crossing things off my list. I feel so lucky that this happened, because now I see things much more clearly. I see that it’s stupid to worry about money and investments. Do people think I’m a great coach? That’s an ego thing; it doesn’t matter to me any longer.

God could have saddled me with some major physical or mental problems, but he didn’t. I’m so thankful that I’ve been set straight, and I only got a slap on the wrist, so to speak.

RW: You haven’t used the words exactly, but it sounds as if you’re saying this heart attack was part of a master plan.

AS: Yes, absolutely. I’ve always believed that God has a plan for all of us, but he doesn’t force it on us. It’s up to us to have the faith to follow the plan. In my case, I feel that I’ve been living a pretty good life – I’ve tried to be helpful to people, I’ve tried to help my runners perform at the highest level. But now I’m thinking God expects more from me than just that….

For more of this interview go here.

This interview reminds me of a verse from Colossians 4:2-6:

2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Are you and I making the most of every opportunity today?

Until the next post…