"Believe in your heart that you're meant to live a life full of passion, purpose, magic and miracles.”
~ Roy T. Bennett
In a less than six weeks I'll be running my 18th marathon. I've thought a lot about what to write in this post. Things like, never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd still be at it all these years later. Which is true, but I probably started saying it around marathon #5 and have declared it every year since. And things like, I've trained harder for this one than any of my others. Also true, but I've definitely said this every time since marathon #12, maybe even before that. I can't remember. And it doesn't really matter. When I ran my first marathon, it was to qualify for Boston. When I ran my first Boston, it was to cross it off my bucket list. When I ran my next three Bostons there was no real reason other than the fact that I had qualified and I live here and it's freaking awesome. For my sixth marathon, Providence, I was ready to try something new. I trained a little differently, or I should say, took it a little more seriously, and I got better results. And I was thrilled. I loved the feeling of racing stronger, of having more to give and of crossing the line with a whole new sense of accomplishment and pride. After that, everything changed. I decided to make training a bigger priority and to see where I could take it. Every race has resulted in something different. Joy, pain, sadness, doubt, anger; all these emotions and more have surfaced over and over again. And here I am today, 9 years later, still at it because despite all the ups and downs, I love it. I love the process, I love the races themselves, I love it all. Yes, there are moments along the way that I hate it, that I want to quit, where I find myself wondering what the hell I'm doing. But my passion for running and my love of racing always comes through in the end. And until it doesn't, I'll stick with it. In the fall of 2015, at age 40, I finished the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon in 3 hours and 4 minutes. To say I was shocked is an understatement. I checked and rechecked the results about 50 times because up until that point I did not believe that I was capable of anything close to this. After this race, everything changed...again. My goals shifted, my drive increased and my commitment to running and to achieving each goal went up to a whole new level. The day of that race, I saw something in myself that I didn't know was there and I wanted to foster that strength and desire for as long as my body would allow. I was ready and willing to go the distance. I still am. So, what's next? At the moment, I'm chasing my dream of a sub-3 hour marathon. I've attempted to hit it four times since Mohawk. FOUR. And, as you know, with marathons you don't just come close and then turn around and try it again 2 weeks later. That would not be prudent. Four attempts means four different training cycles, each with four, long months of training and hundreds of miles, many of them grueling. This summer, I was talking with someone close to me about the process....my goal, the challenges, my progress, etc. I told him that I would be pretty bummed if I crossed the line this October and didn't hit it after all this work and all of the attempts before them. And you probably won't, he said very matter of factly. Which sounds harsh and was a pretty significant blow at the moment. What he meant, he explained, is that we create these goals that are potentially out of reach, if only just a bit, for a reason. So we can keep chasing them. Keep dreaming. And keep pushing ourselves to get there. Whether we do or not isn't necessarily the point. It's the story behind it that builds who we are. Not achieving the goal itself. I understand what he meant. And I agree with it to some extent. But, I'm not ready to believe that my goal is unattainable. And I will continue to work as though it is, in fact, within reach. I'm going to have to reach beyond my comfort zone and maybe even pull a rabbit out of my hat. But, I do that every day as a mom and coach, at least, the first part. The rabbit? I've never done it but I'm sure someone can teach me. Here's to dreaming big. And to all of you out there working hard to make it happen....never stop.
Listen to this:
Paper Son & Halima - Hotspice