It’s much more than a race…

When I was around 16 years old, I picked up Oprah’s “Make the Connection” book at the house where I was babysitting.  Oprah wrote about her weight loss journey: losing and gaining, losing and gaining, talking about how this time it was a complete lifestyle change and how she went from being obese to running a marathon.

My dream of running a marathon started that day, although, it seemed unattainable then, something for other people to accomplish.  I couldn’t even run a mile at that time, barely passed the minimum level fitness testing in gym class, weighed around 180lbs and didn’t have opportunity or support to participate in anything active.  Life was lonely.  I had only a handful of friends and felt empty inside.

Yesterday, I went 26.2 miles in one 5 hour stretch.  I had someone I knew and loved almost every 2 miles throughout the entire race (every mile or less the last 4)!  My life is no longer lonely or empty inside.  Not in the least bit!

Through this journey, I have learned much more than how to run.  I have learned that you can’t ever be fast enough or go far enough to be good enough.  It’s about your race, your body, no one else’s.  It does no good to compare yourself to someone else because they aren’t you.  Start where you are and go from there.  Nothing is impossible with enough time and care.  Our ill conceived expectations are what harm us, not goals.  Sometimes life throws curve balls and what you end up with is nothing like what you intended.  This is not failure, this is a change in direction with it’s own lessons.  To judge the lessons as undesirable is to deny growth that can come from them.

No matter what happens, there are multiple ways to interpret it.  No matter what your accomplishment, it is always possible to do better.  If you only allow yourself a break when you can do no better, you are setting yourself up for life long misery and unrelenting pain.  If you celebrate how far you’ve come and aim to improve while appreciating who you are now, life is joyful.

In order for a plan to work, you must work the plan.  Deviating will give you different results.  Rest and recovery are an important part of training.  Stretching is as important as straining.  No matter what someone else’s advice is, only you know your body and you need to stand up for it.  No one else knows exactly what you are feeling the way you do.

I don’t know what breaking the race tape feels like but I did go 26.2 with a lot of joy and all 10 toe nails, without blisters or injury.  That’s winning in my mind!

I was surprised that crossing the finish line was so anti climatic for me.  I was glad to be able to stop.  I was happy to see my friends, my husband, and my foam roller.  I relished my celebratory cupcakes and refreshing water.  Felt a little loopy, unable to process thoughts clearly.

I am grateful that my body took me that far.  I tried to give it what it needed and it did well!  I try to be good to my body, it’s the only place I have to live.  Over the past few years I’ve worked on reframing how I look at my physical self.  Instead of judging it, I’ve consciously worked on thinking about what I need to do to take care of it and being grateful for what it can do.

If you are reading this and thinking “that’s nice, I could never do that”, you are only as right as you allow yourself to believe.  Believe you can do it, find the resources you need to be successful and YOU CAN!

I entered the iCan challenge expecting to go 26.2 miles injury free.  I did!  I experienced relying on other people to help me.  They came through!  On top of that, I started some new friendships and look forward to seeing how deep they take root.

Love can’t come in if you always push it away.  Goodness and joy can’t be experienced if you are constantly undermining where you are (inside and out).

This scriptural phrase that came to me during the race: Whatever it is your are doing, do it with your whole heart, soul, mind and spirit to the glory of God and not to men.  

Looked it up when I had access to internet again and figured out I had melded 3 different verses together:

Colossians 3:23: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, and not for men.

Luke 10:27: Love your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself.

1 Corinthians 10:31: Whatever you eat or drink, whatever you do, do all things for the glory of God.

26.2 miles is accomplished the same way as life.  One…step…at…a…time… Very grateful to have taken the first step and kept on going!

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