You have more in you than you imagine. Saturday, February 8, 2014, I ran my furthest distance – 50 miles. I knew this would be a hard event, but I underestimated it. Moments of deep thoughts and doubts encompassed my day. There were times I felt hopeless and desperate, but I kept going. Over the course of 50 miles, I reflected on my past and why I was in the middle of the woods running such a crazy distance.
“The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.” - Walter Bagehot
In high school, I dreamed of college and a successful career traveling the world. However, my plans changed when I became pregnant at seventeen. People assumed my dreams were shattered, but I had to accept the change and chose a Plan B. Everything negative, the internal pressures, and the challenges I faced were an opportunity for me to overcome this hurdle and prove that I can do what others said I could not. With focus and determination, I finished college, married a wonderful man and thrived with a successful career.
During my childhood, I despised anything athletic. When I decided to run a marathon, others around me were not confident I could do it. I pushed through yet another challenge and succeeded.
Six years and two more babies later, I began to prepare for my next adventure – a 50-mile trail run. This time, I had three friends who endured the 9 months of training with me. We were in this together! Start to finish!
At 6:00am we took off into the pitch-black woods. I had feelings of excitement and strength, but I was also very nervous. An hour into the race, the sun lit up the woods and our clan of four slowly progressed forward. We supported one another through moments of mental defeat, queasy stomachs, or aches and pains. There were miles filled with banter and miles of silence.
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” ~ Confucius
We didn’t care how long it took us. It’s during these times of challenge that you realize the mental training is just as important as the physical. In moments of pain, you have to go outside your aching body for strength. Listen to your internal voices telling you that you CAN do this and reminding you that your training was for this one day of hard effort. You are strong.
We put one foot in front of the other, taking one mile at a time. The last 7 miles were in the dark and the most challenging. Our mental anguish and pain was at its
peak. However, we knew the finish line was up ahead with our family and friends waiting. This day was going to be a memorable and rewarding one. We were going to feel VICTORY!
A day of epic achievements had been accomplished, but none of it would matter without my family to share it with. My family, who would not even exist had I not faced my fears at seventeen, overcome the negative pressures, and took the path down Plan B.
Why do I keep going? Because I know I haven’t reached my full potential!
We all have the strength, not just me. If I learned anything from this race, it’s that every one of us can find the courage to move forward into the unknown and test ourselves. Discover the true self that’s hiding within us.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” ~Nelson Mandela
What are you training for today...in work? in life? Remember take it one mile at a time... Pace.