I walked to the starting line in semi darkness along with
thousands of other runners, pouring into the streets of Philadelphia from their
hotels. It was 6:00 am, Sunday November 20, 2011.
I had run hundreds of miles in preparation for that
day. I ran in rain, I ran in heat waves,
I ran with friends and I ran alone. I
had learned a lot about my body and its limits, both the real and the self-imposed
and during my training period, I had learned the difference between the two.
I was not in ideal shape for this run. With a cold and a pulled hamstring, I
accepted the fact before the race even
began, that I may have to walk off the course.
Except I didn’t walk off the course, and several hours
later, after the doubt and the bargaining and the surrender to fate had all
taken place, I crossed the finish line, a first time marathon runner.
Little did I know that day, that my training for the race would
be less about preparing for the marathon itself, but would prepare me for the
year that would take place afterward, a year, shall we say, of unprecedented
Is change comfortable? No.
Is my life the least bit easy?
Absolutely not. But I am poised to face life on life’s terms, possibly
better than I could have before that race.
Because once you run a marathon, you can do just about
You can learn how to take care of the yard, and
work a leaf blower.
You can learn how to fix vacuum cleaners and
unclog sinks and toilets on your own.
You can learn how to ask for help - sometimes, from people you barely know, because
when you are the only adult in the house with three kids, you learn that you cannot be everywhere
that you need to be at the same time.
You learn that people are kind and that they
want to help.
You learn to let them help and not feel like you
have to keep on your “man pants” all the flipping time.
You learn that tough decisions initially cause pain,
and you go with those decisions anyway, because after running 26.2 miles, you
realize that pain happens, but it’s just temporary.
You learn to hustle three part time jobs around
the schedule of your kids so that you can be there for them when they get off
the bus while keeping food on your table.
You learn to say “yes,” and understand when
saying “yes” is necessary.
You learn to say “no” and understand when saying
“no” is necessary.
You learn to become a little less intimidated by
the things that don’t matter.
You learn to fully understand the difference
between what actually does and does not matter.
You learn that there is no such thing as impossible.
You learn to trust yourself and your abilities.
You begin to understand that you are strong
beyond your wildest dreams and that no matter what, you and your children will
Would I be handling my present day life as well as I am without
that marathon under my belt? It’s hard
to say. One thing I know for certain is
that the marathon gave me tangible proof of my own strength and endurance.
And here’s the most important thing.
If I’m strong, you’re strong, and if I can
endure and triumph over the difficult, then so can you. Because we are all more alike than we care to
Whatever the obstacle is, you can overcome it.
Whatever the goal is, you can achieve it.
I have your back on this one, sister.
Just like you’ve had mine.