Monday, May 19, 2014

Start, Endure, and Finish

As most of you know, I ran my first marathon just over 5 months ago on December 14th in Huntsville, AL.  The thought of running a marathon wasn’t even a possibility just three years ago.  I didn’t even think I’d want to run more than a 10K.  Fast forward three years and I am a marathoner!  I’m not saying that to brag but to encourage you.  If you set your mind to do something, then it’s possible.  I’ve read many times, “The body can do anything.  It’s the mind your have to convince.”  When I first took those first steps on October 1, 2010, I would have thought you wee crazy if you would have told me I would run one day.  I just wanted to walk and get healthier.  I thought me walking 3 miles was impossible but it wasn’t.

I learned many things about myself over the course of training for and running that 26.2 miles.  I’ve shared some of those things in past post but there is another person that doesn’t get much credit for the sacrifices she makes.  For Valentine’s Day this year, Tish put together a collage of photos from that marathon and stuck a quote on it.  The was just the frosting on the cake.  Training for a marathon isn’t easy.  If it was then everybody would be running marathons.  It takes so much out of your physically and mentally.  She had to put up with me getting up early on Saturday and Sunday to go and get my run in.  Although I’m sure she would have much rather me be at the house, she endured all the hours that I spent out pounding the pavement to accomplish something that was important to me.  She has even had to come and pick me up a few times because I’d call her and tell her I could make it any farther.  One of those time was during what was supposed to be a 20 miler that turned into a 16 miler.

The quote that she put on the collage was, “Courage to start.  Strength to endure.  Resolve to finish.”  When Jeff asked me about doing the Rocket City Marathon, I really wanted to say I didn’t think I could do it.  Just a couple of months before, I had told Koach that I didn’t think I had time to train for a marathon and that I was sticking with half marathons.  He understood.  Jeff had faith that I could do it.  Courage wasn’t about putting my name and address into the online form to register.  That was easy!  It was actually pressing that SUBMIT button and then doing what it took to make it to the start line.

Strength to endure was something we all need in all walks of life.  It doesn’t take just physical strength to finish a marathon.  It takes mental strength too.  I found that out late in my training while trying to finish those long long 17, 18, 19, and 20 mile runs.  It was hard at times to get up at 5am and hit the pavement an hour later and stay out there until almost noon.  Planning your route carefully so you could either stop by the store or the house for hydration.

Resolving to finish is one of those things that is easy to say but hard to do.  I had it in my mind for weeks that DNF was not an option.  I was going to finish!  Somewhere around 23 miles, I decided that I just couldn’t go on and I was finished.  The finish line was still over 3 miles away and there was no way I could make it.  Jeri, one of the sweepers, said something about that time that I’ll never forget.  (You’ll have to ask me about it sometime.)  It made me dig deep within myself and muster up all the strength that was within me that I knew would carry me to the finish line.  Finally after 6 hours 5 minutes 9 seconds, I crossed the finish line!

Shortly after finishing, Tish gave me a gift.  She had bought it even before I had finished.  It was a tag, as she calls it, to go on my necklace.  It has 26.2 stamped on it.  I still wear it now and will continue to wear it as a reminder that I can do anything that I set my mind to do.

The photo collage hangs next to my side of the bed and every morning when I get up to run, it reminds me of the reasons I do what I do.

Thanks for stopping by this week and I hope you enjoyed this post.  Comments are always welcome.

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