Have you ever had the desire to prove something?
Maybe it was to yourself. Maybe it was to your friends or family. Maybe it was to that coach or teacher who made you doubt your own abilities.
Whoever made you (or makes you) feel that way, their words stick with you. They creep in at unexpected times and you may even put yourself back in that situation where they told you that you were less than.
I am very introspective, so I find myself reevaluating past experiences a lot. Sometimes it’s healthy and sometime it’s not.
Well, in July 2014, I was in a read need to have a personal win. I was forced to go back to work after our real estate business had a tough winter. I went from the high of leaving my job to the low of having to beg to return.
My wife suggested that I train for a half marathon as it would give me a goal to shoot for. I am the type of person that needs to look forward to things and needs to work toward something. So, being a former runner as well, this was right up my alley.
I made the goal to run a half marathon by November, but I wanted to challenge myself to actually complete the full distance while running and walking beforehand. My wife even decided to join me.
Not only was it an incredible experience for each of us individually, but it brought us together more as a couple. After all, we had over 3 hours to talk and push each other to the finish line. However, I wouldn’t recommend it for EVERY married couple out there!
With that said, I would like to share with you a few of the things I learned that August day in 2014.
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13.1 miles is long. Very long. Even if you’re walking.
A half marathon is not for the faint of heart. It’s tough on your body and the hills on this particular course were a killer. Over the July 4th weekend in 2014, I committed myself to get back into running. I was a cross-country runner in high school, but got away from the activity in college. You could say I was preoccupied with other things.
However, it was always something I wanted to do. So, Anna suggested that I commit to doing something and we agreed on a half marathon. Part of her reasoning involved allowing me to feel that I truly accomplished something on my own.
Even the biggest hills have a downhill shortly after.
The hills will come. And come. But, while hills go up at first, there is always the downhill afterward.
Everything ends eventually. The same goes for hills that look insurmountable at first. When we push through, things do get easier for a time, but you always need to be ready for the next climb. Such is life, is it not?
Take it all in. Enjoy your surroundings.
Stop. Just stop. You need to look around now and then.
Be present. Be engaged. Stop worrying.
Give thanks to God for something good in your life.
Just allow yourself to see what’s around you and not look down at a piece of technology. Enjoy time with your family. Put the worry about budgets, debt, and health aside (it will always be there) and find the time to just be with one another outside.
There is always somebody to find the negative.
Not surprisingly, we had haters who told us we were wasting our time with the half marathon. Others thought we would hurt ourselves beyond repair. I just tune these types of people these days. While they may think they are helping or coming from a good place, I don’t want their negative energy to spoil my mindset.
Do you have this issue with well-meaning people in your life?
The feeling of truly accomplishing something is second to none.
The “high” I got from finishing the half marathon was incredible. I just want that feeling again. It’s part of the reason I ran a full marathon and 4 other half marathons since then.
Even more, I was able to take this experience and focus my energy on other things. Instead of being afraid, I can remember what happened in August 2014 in Pennsburg, PA and how I completed the Philadelphia Marathon in November 2014. I can point to other areas of my life like paying down $60,000 in debt that included $20,000 in student loans. I did it and I can accomplish other difficult things because I survived it. You’re no different.
The sense of accomplishment in completing the half marathon is one of sheer joy and gratitude. It was something that brought us together and something we will have as a bonding moment as a couple forever. Further, we get that sense of pride and accomplishment for ourselves as individuals and get to share the gift with others. Not in a boastful way, but in an encouraging way.
Conclusion: Put yourself out there.
So, I say go run your own half marathon — or do something that you can feel proud to do and be grateful for. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience and a gift that I believe everyone deserves.
As the legendary running coach Bill Bowerman once said, “The real purpose of running isn’t to win a race, it’s to test the limits of the human heart.” Put yourself to the test. You won’t regret the outcome.
What are some negative influences you’ve had to overcome in life? Have you ever run a half marathon, full marathon, or completed another physically demanding activity? Tell us about it below.