I love my mom – not only is she a runner, she has always had a way with words. Growing up, even to this day, she would always remind me that “life is a marathon, not a sprint.” Little did I know how relevant this quote would be in my life…
I have always been impatient..ALWAYS. Whether it be regarding getting my homework completed, getting to a certain destination, or waiting to get a phone call returned – nothing ever seemed to move quickly enough! I was always getting frustrated, and I also always seemed to be running late – I was never in sync with, or trusted, the timing of our beautiful universe.
It was when I started running that I found a meditation, a centering phenomena. When I run, it’s just me out there..me, myself, & I. Nothing but my mind, body and soul all working together in harmony to just PUSH myself. My SELF. And I did just that, I kept pushing. Every time I wanted to run, I wanted to go further & have a quicker time.
That was my largest mistake…I ended up pushing my body and my mind into overdrive. My soul wanted to be the very best at these runs, and with me taking myself way too seriously, I got bored. I even hurt myself. However, I knew deep down that running & spending that quality time with mySELF is my true love.. the push, the courage, the diligence, the strength, the vulnerability..it’s all me. So I signed up for my first full-marathon. It was the Long Beach Marathon, and yes, I signed up for the full 26.2 miles (mind you the furthest I have ever ran previously to this was half, 13 .1 miles). I wanted to do something I’ve never done before, with a whole new energy, in hopes of recovering my love for running as well as my own spirit for life itself.. & I did just that.
And my mom’s quote kept popping up in my head.. “LIFE IS A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT.” Man oh man… did that help.
The start of the race was 6am, and I had a goal to complete all 26.2 miles by 12:30pm.. a total of 6 hours & 30 minutes. My goal was set here, because I didn’t believe in myself to have a quicker time, due to listening to outside noise that “it would be crazy to have a 6 hour marathon time as your first marathon time”. BLAH BLAH BLAH.
And throughout the whole race, I kept a steady pace. I had my focus on seeing myself crossing that finish line, I kept making sure my roommate/best friend Amanda was doing good (she was running the half, and started about 2 1/2 hours after I did), and I kept thinking….this is a marathon, not a sprint. I breathed in, and breathed out every couple of steps. You always want to make sure you control & focus well on your breathing no matter what task you are handling in life.
Although I was aware of HOW FAR I STILL HAD TO GO, I kept reminding myself of how far I’ve came to every. single. moment that was passing. Let me tell you, you truly learn how to live in the moment when you are pushing your most truest self past any type of limit or uncomfortable boundary! Every single second counts, and all you want to do is keep progressing forward. And still, when I would get a little stiff (or even emotional) along my run, I would just focus and SEE myself crossing that finish line, and BELIEVED in myself..no matter how many more miles I still had to defeat.
I would be lying if I said this event wasn’t challenging..
It was tear jerking, mind calming, body surging, leg cramping, motivating, wonderful, and tough all at the same time – and so much more. And I kept reminding myself, life is a marathon..not a sprint. THIS IS A MARATHON, not a sprint. So I kept taking my time, and with that image of finishing in my head, I found myself enjoying every single step I jogged, every single breath I took, every drop of sweat I would wipe off of my face – it was just me, myself, & I, among thousands of other people taking the same challenge, same path, yet different journey. This whole challenge is a mind thing – I promise!
I was getting close to finishing (around 20 miles completed, 6.2 to go) and my roommate & I were checking up on one another – she had 3 miles left. I was vulnerable, I felt strong, and I couldn’t believe what her & I both had ALREADY accomplished without even being finished yet. Goodness I was so proud of her (mind you, she didn’t have the proper training either, I kinda/sorta threw her in this marathon!). People were outside of their houses passing out tissues, as if I wasn’t emotional enough, and that for sure hit some spot in my soul to want to cry more ha ha. I was almost there…
Mile 26. I had 0.2 to go.. I snapped a picture of the mile marker & headed down the last stretch with everything left I had inside of me.. I heard & saw my mom leaning over the fence along with my cousin Cindy (also a half-marathon finisher), I heard the announcer say my name & congratulate me, I heard & saw my best friend Deanna scream my name with Amanda (my roomie/half-marathon finisher), I looked up at my time, & I just about lost it – I finished in 5 hours & 50 minutes. I beat my goal by 40 minutes to the dot. Wow. Here come the tears..
Crossing that finish line was everything I was imagining it to be..and so much more. I truly have no words to describe feeling. I feel as if I have a new-found love for my true self, as well as for my supporters and fellow runners. This run took my pride to a whole new level – but in a good way. I have more respect for myself and others, I even feel I have more of an open mind. And I FOR SURE have a new-found happiness – I can really do anything.
Accomplishing something, big or small, feels extremely good. When it seems like the impossible, that is when I advise you take the challenge – get uncomfortable, let your guard down to your SELF, face your fears with absolutely no mask on, and just go.. take your time, TRUST your time, believe you are good right here right now, and that you always will be..love your SELF. No matter how much support you have, or lack, you is all you have. Watch yourself GROW along this marathon of a life – for that is where growth, prosperity, and happiness lies – in the J O U R N E Y.