This past weekend was an exciting one. It was my own first half-marathon, as well as a friend's first MARATHON! This friend has been on one exciting journey of fitness, transformation, personal growth, you name it, over the last couple of years. The culmination of all this was symbolized by the marathon that she ran yesterday.
I won't go into the details of the actual race itself, but you can imagine the emotional rollercoaster that she would have gone through along the 42.2km's that she traveled. My friend has given me permission to share some very personal information with you all here, and at the end you will understand why I wanted to share this without you knowing her, or having too much insight into her own journey.
Anyway, here's what she had to say:
"[the 32k mark]...I think this is where the spirits really went sour for me. Thoughts of my "journey" kept me going. Truth be told I have been through so much in the last 4 years and I just wanted to finish, no matter what quitting was not an option.
Around 36K I texted my husband and told him I was emotional and "shuffling". I would switch between walking, shuffling and running, but I can tell you it was so very HARD to get to the running stance...
I turned the final corner and knew "this is my moment''. With every last ounce of effort I ran to the finish line. I did not make my 5:00 hrs but it doesn't matter. I was 4th last in my age category and finished around the 5:43 mark. The last runner in my age category finished at 7:10 minutes (I believe).
It was an amazing experience, I knew this was something that I needed to do, and I would not give up until I had a marathon medal.
I will NEVER do a full marathon again.
I have learned that it's the moments that are the most challenging that define us as human beings. And I can say I am a changed person.
I can say that this chapter of my life is closed. I will never look back and have any regrets, in fact this is closure for me. It taught me that a person at the very bottom, who just refuses to to give up, can change their whole life around and come out on top.
I am thankful for the experience, I am thankful for those who stuck by me and never gave up on me and I am also thankful for the knowledge that I can face ANYTHING life throws my way!"
I am very proud of this friend of mine. But what I love most about her story (and being able to see it unfold before my very own eyes has been amazing) is what she said earlier about a person who refuses to give up can chage their whole life around, and that our most challenging moments are the ones that define us as human beings. Isn't that the truth?
I had my own 'revelation' at this event. The year before this, I completed the 10K and was so proud of myself. After that race, I knew I wanted to do a half-marathon the next year, and so I trained for it.
The revelation was this: In one way, as we were lining up for the start this weekend, it seemed to me that the half-marathon was this crazy distance and I couldn't believe that I was doing this (even though I was only walking it). But it dawned on me that because I had trained for this, I had absolutely no doubt that I would finish. I knew it may be tougher towards the end but there was no question I was prepared and I could handle it. In that moment, I thought of some wise words that go like this: "The absolute, most sure-fire way of physically moving in the direction of your dreams, is living them, now, to ANY degree that you can" (Mike Dooley).
Here's the point...(and an event such as a race is such a good analogy). You may think that something you want is out of your reach (and it probably is at the beginning - if it's a goal that causes you to stretch yourself). BUT - all you have to do is to begin. That's all. Begin by doing one thing that pulls you closer to your goal or your dream. You don't have to know exactly HOW this will happen, you just have to do SOMETHING!
Too many times we get frustrated because the goal or dream seems too overwhelming to us. Of course it is! Because we have soooo many steps to take before we get closer to realizing it. But the point is that EVERY STEP gets you that much closer. In this case, every time you train and go one extra kilometer, or add an extra 10 minutes to your workout, you are moving closer and closer.
I don't profess to want to complete a marathon anytime soon - that's not something I am interested in working on right now. And of course from where I sit today with my current perspective, that seems incredibly out of my reach. I could not have imagined after finishing yesterday, turning around and re-doing that entire distance OVER again - which is what my friend did basically! But I do know that if that ever was a goal of mine, that I could do it....By putting one foot in front of the other, and completing smaller, "bite-sized" goals along the way. And that my friends, is how we accomplish ANYTHING in life.
What do you want to do? Start today. By doing one tiny thing that makes yesterday a little bit different than today. That's all you have to do.
Here's a photo of Syl finishing!
And here's a photo of me with my medal...