Life is a Marathon (not a sprint)

I know you have all been anxiously waiting to hear about my marathon experience. My sport psychology side wants to tell you all about the mental barriers I hurdled on race-day, my motivational side wants to tell you about how fulfilling it was to finish, and my humorous side wants to tell you about all the fun you can have running 26.2 miles. In hopes to not miss any of the details, I will start from the beginning.

 

If you would have told I would be considered a “runner” at some point in my life, I would have laughed (hysterically) in your face. My inner basketball player never considered going out of my way to run (for enjoyment). Running was the necessary evil both volleyball and basketball required. In April of 2015, just after “retiring” from basketball, I went on a brisk jog through Valley City. On this jog, I found a feeling of comfort I had not felt in months. Running slowly became part of my morning routine and I soon started to look forward to my alone time with my thoughts. I started running for one reason, to be active, but I kept running to explore my inner thoughts and to further explore the sense of peace I “ran into” on that April afternoon. I think many of us have difficulties being alone with our thoughts, and I used to despise the loneliness of my mind. Spending time thinking and developing fulfilling and progressive thoughts takes time and energy many of do not set aside but running gave me time to think and rethink how I thought. This “alone-time” with my thoughts made me realize, I CAN and WILL do anything I set my mind to.

 

Leap ahead to race day, I had spent miles (461 miles to be exact) preparing for this moment. A marathon is not something I considered a “big deal” but I realized, as race day approached, it was a big deal. 26.2 miles is a long way to go and it is a long time to run. For me, it did not feel like a big deal, it was just something I decided to do. Less than 5 years ago it [running] was something I would have never imagined having the desire to do but now it was something I was passionate about. I focused on the daily miles training required instead of the event itself. My point is, marathoning became a passion I invested hours or time into without ever realizing what I had become capable of doing.

 

This is something we can carry into our work and family lives. It is said if you are doing something you love, you never work a day in your life. I have a difficult time finding the truth in that statement. Anything worth having or loving takes hours of commitment and work. You can love it, but it takes work. Hard work. Marathon training was not something I enjoyed all the time, but it was something I was committed to loving. Imagine a world where people were so engaged and interested in the process of making the world a better place instead of worry about why it wasn’t a better place already. Instead of focusing on the problem, people would individually develop a passion for what is ahead of them. Eventually, we could all accomplish something we never imagined possible.  While training and running, I was not focused on running a marathon, I focused on one mile at a time. Because, that is really all you can control. The same goes for life. We cannot worry about what is ahead or behind us if we are going to accomplish something great. Greatness does not just happen when you wish to happen, greatness happens when you decide to listen and embrace the voice in your head that says, “you will.” Greatness happens when you silence the voice that says, “you couldn’t if you tried.” Instead of focusing on the problem, develop a passion for what is ahead of you and eventually, you will be able accomplish something you never imagined possible.

 

Perseverance is what allowed me to start and finish my first marathon, but I understand marathoning is not for everyone. My challenge for you: treat life like your marathon. How? By taking one mile at a time. The only place you can really be is the mile you are in, so enjoy the moment. Commit to the process, because in the end it is about the passion and effort you put into the process, the rest falls into place. Approach tasks (big or small) with tenacity and optimism. Every day presents us with new challenges full of uncontrollable outcomes. Using your attitude, make the most of every challenge and obstacle you encounter, because you never know if you will get the opportunity again. Pace yourself. You cannot make drastic changes overnight. Give it everything you have to give. In the end, it is not about how much you did, it is about how much you gave. Lastly, make sure you have a support system intact. You never know when life will make all your muscles cramp-up at once.

 

Think About it

  1. One would think the difficult part of marathoning would be the running part. For me, it was the stopping part. Immediately after finishing, my muscles cramped, and my body became stiff (not ideal). I had never felt more accomplished or sore. Shockingly, after 26.2 miles, I thought to myself, “It would have just been easier to keep running.”
    1. What keeps your going? What is your “soreness” that makes it difficult?
  2. Everyone has their reason to not run their “marathon.”
    1. What are your motivators to start yours?
  • Training for a marathon left me tired, sore, sober, and hungry.
    1. What are some parts of your life where you could embrace discomforts to improve your overall well-being?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

-Mikaela

 

My last note about marathoning, no matter how old or young you are, I think it is important to be grateful for the gift of your body. I just took my body for a 26.2 mile “road trip” and it was pretty amazing. I understand that marathoning is not for everyone. Honestly, I never thought it would be for me but now that I have done it, I will be doing it doing it again.

 

“At mile 20, I thought I was dead. At mile 22, I wished I was dead. At mile 24, I knew I was dead. At mile 26.2, I realized I had become too tough to kill.” -anonymous

 

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