Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Marathon of Life

I have gotten out of the habit.  The habit of running.  The habit of eating (mostly) healthy on a daily basis.  There are always excuses.  It's too hot.  I'm too busy.  I don't want to.  I need new running shoes.  I'm tired.  I could go on and on with the list of excuses, but the truth is, I've just been plain lazy.  

This past February I did something I never ever thought I could do. I ran a marathon. Yes, that is 26.2 miles, 4 hours and 23 minutes of running. I learned some things along the way. I can do whatever I put my mind to, but it has to be something I want to do. Training was hard and time consuming.  I ran 4 times a week for 5 months.  Many times I didn't feel like spending 3 hours of my Saturday running. 

I ran in the rain, in the heat, and in the frosty cold. I ran up hills and down hills. I ran over 400 miles training for this one day. I had to remind myself why I was doing this.  I set a goal and I was determined to reach that goal.   Running a marathon is alot like living life. Sometimes it's fun, sometimes you are miserable and just want to quit. Sometimes you are just enduring the pain.  But when you finish, when you cross that line and you are done, you have such a sense of accomplishment.

Living life is much the same. You have to make time for what is important. You also can't do it all by yourself.  Sometimes you need someone to run with you (or in my case, ride a bike beside you thank you, honey) to cheer you on, tell you you're doing great.  Someone to carry your water bottle and energy bites.  In life it's the same.  You need others to help you through the bad times, encourage you and celebrate the good.  My brother-in-law Arnold bought me new running shoes and paid my registration.  My sister-in-law Susan paid for my hotel room.  Without the support of others it would have been way harder than it was, and I appreciate everyone who helped make this a reality for me.

You don't become a marathon runner by wishing you could, or just thinking about it. It takes dedication and time. You have to get up and do it.  You have to want it. It's the same with life. You have to do the hard stuff to enjoy the good stuff. You get out what you put in. 

You have to take the time to refuel yourself.  Eat some good food, read a book, enjoy your accomplishments and take care of yourself.  Play a game with your kids.  Do something challenging just to prove you can.  Do what makes you happy.

Don't forget the people who make your marathon possible.  Your running (or bike) partner, your friends, parents, kids, whoever is special in your marathon of life.  Without them it wouldn't be nearly as fun.  My Sweetheart helped me through many miles on his bike right beside me.  Sometimes we talked, sometimes we were quiet, but he was there, and that made the difference.  I don't think I would have gotten through the training without him, and I know I wouldn't want to go through life without him.

My cousin, Angie, was there for me during the race.  She fed me gooey things full of potassium and electrolytes, we talked, we were quiet, she told me I was doing great when I didn't think I could take another step.  Without her there I probably wouldn't have done as well as I did.  Oh, I would have finished (I think), but the encouragement she gave me was invaluable.

Here are a couple videos of the finish for your viewing pleasure!

Right now I'm starting it all over again.  I'm starting training for a 1/2 marathon, then hopefully continuing on to another full.  I know what to expect, and I know I can do it.  What have you done lately?

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