The moments that challenge you the most will define you. I am not just talking about running but also life. It’s funny how life and running are the same. They are very similar in the sense what you put into each of them, you will get out of them. I am constantly reminded on a daily basis and continue to teach to runners on a yearly basis how running can teach us to live better lives.
The marathon will humble you and is brutal. You must respect the miles and know that limits will be reached. After 20 miles it’s actually kind of magical. The physical struggle, the doubt, the mental struggle. You learn and figure out a way to push past the adversity and you learn so much about yourself, what you are truly capable of. The best part is taking those lessons into your life and applying what you are truly capable of and achieving your goals.
With that said, this month always is a special month for me. It marks the anniversary when I ran three full 26.2 marathons back to back to back. For three weekends in a row I ran a marathon each Sunday. It actually was by accident how it happened but I guess nothing is truly by accident. People always ask how I did it. There really is no secret except that I truly believed I could do it. This is my story.
I ran the first marathon at the OC Marathon out here in California. I actually helped pace a runner of mine to help him get his PR. The race was miserable and hot. I remember feeling like crap at about 24 miles because of the heat that day. Plus the course was really boring with few spectators. He got his PR and it was all great after. I was pleased to help. I finished and felt like I ran a marathon. A bit sore but feeling accomplished. It never gets old.
The following day I was reminded by another runner about travel plans for the Arizona Marathon coming that Sunday. For some reason I thought I had another two weeks and quickly realized I was about to go back to back. I had never run back to back marathons so I really didn’t know what to expect. I recovered that week with chiropractic care, an ice bath everyday for 3 days and light running. Having run 40 to 50 miles in one day in the past was my confidence that I would be okay. The problem was pacing my runner. The stress and pressure are always there as they are relying on you to be perfect. In a marathon, anything can go wrong and even though it was just a 4:15 goal time, you always have to have respect for the marathon and distance. So it was off to Arizona I went and as I lined up on the starting line that morning I was ready mentally. I paced the race to a tee with my pace bracelet and put it on the line as per the runner at mile 21 and pulled my runner in 12 minutes fast that day. It was an amazing feeling as I felt as if it was easier than the first marathon just a week prior. The feeling of back to back was very satisfying.
When I got home I had no other runners to pace but It had me thinking if I ran another marathon it would be extraordinary and so I figured I would look for another marathon and try to go for the trifecta, the hat trick to show people you can push the limits of your body and anything is possible if you truly believe it. I went to Carlsbad, Ca and lined up on the start line of that marathon with no running at all during the week and at the start line felt free, no pressure, just finish, have a good run and enjoy the accomplishment. I lined up with the 4:10 pace group, huddled myself behind the crowd of runners and away we went. For the first 13 miles, I ran effortlessly and then we started a climb that would last for a few miles. When we started the climb the pack of the 4:10 group was about 40 strong, when we finally reached the crest of the climb and began our descent there were just 5 of us. It was brutal. When we reached mile 22 it was just the pace leader and myself. I was the lone survivor. I shared my story with the pace leader and she laughed, couldn’t believe this was my third marathon in a row, and quite frankly I couldn’t believe it either. Those last miles to the finish line were magical. It started to sink in what I was on the verge of accomplishing. My family was there as well as a bunch of friends there to see me in this feat. When I made the turn to the finish line they were all there screaming and yelling and it made the hair on my neck stand up.
I remember as I approached the finish line, everything seemed to be in slow motion, I kind of couldn’t hear the crowd anymore and as I stepped on the finish line I closed my eyes and felt PURE elation in that moment, and in a second with a million thoughts I thought somewhere around the world someone is experiencing this same feeling, someone else is crossing the finish line of their first marathon, their first 5k or perhaps their first time running a mile without stopping, someone is full of elation right now putting their eyes on their child for the first time or elated for some great accomplishment. The beautiful thing is in THAT moment I was part of great moments all around the world joined by others who accomplished something really great and extraordinary. And this is life! That is the beauty of this world. Look around and see all the great things and accomplishments happening on a daily basis.
After coming back to reality, I hugged my pace leader, met my family and friends and its was a great celebration. They put the other two medals on me and we took this picture. This is my story.
The revelation you now have is my advice, WHAT MORE IS THERE IN LIFE THAN THE MOMENT YOU FEEL YOU CAN DO ANYTHING?
HOW WILL YOU CREATE THAT MOMENT OF ELATION AND JOIN OTHERS AROUND THE WORLD IN BEING EXTRAORDINARY?
GET OUT THERE AND GO AFTER YOUR MOMENT! IT’S WAITING FOR YOU.