I Will Say Yes


Running shoes

I believe in the impossible.

Thanks to running.

Running has taught me that the impossible starts with one step followed by another step and then another until you run your first mile or ten or 26.

When you run a marathon, especially your first, you have no choice but to believe. You have to believe. You have to say yes, even if you’re unsure, because there’s no way to do this thing, even for one moment, if you say no.

The impossible starts with saying “yes” and taking your first step.

And while at first this “yes,” was about running, it has opened the door to many more yeses.

I’ve learned that yes is typically the better alternative to no.

I’ve learned that with yes, we can never go wrong, and at the most, we make a mistake that we learn from.

I have learned that yes begins with a willingness followed by an action and that for the yes to really be a yes, we have to treat it like a verb.

I have learned that in order to fully live, and to use up every ounce of space that I’ve been given, I need to say yes, and say yes often.

I’ve learned that the best days begin with promises to myself, to say yes, such as these:

I will say yes to the things that scare me.

I will say yes to the things that are in my heart.

I will say yes to the things that seem impossible, because after running 26.2 miles, I know that nothing is impossible.

I will say yes to the things you don’t understand and can’t support me in. Because my yes and your yes don’t always look alike.

I will say yes despite my fear of rejection.

I will say yes despite my lack of time.

I will say yes even when you say no.

I will say yes to following my dreams.

 The only way I know to honor the people affected by the Boston Marathon tragedy is to keep saying yes.  To everything.

Because I still have the ability to do so.

So, yes, to the first step, to the next step, and the one thousandth after that, and yes to the thought that after days like Monday, I never want to take the yeses for granted ever again.


What do you want to say “yes” to? 



I Will Say Yes — 46 Comments

  1. I love the positive spin you’ve put on this.
    In an only semi-related note, I endlessly admire marathon runners. I have officially run only one 5K. Even still, I HATE running. When I was training I got to the point where I needed it, and felt off if I didn’t go, but I still hated it while doing it. I just don’t have any desire to go farther than 3.1 miles!

  2. Namaste, Ilene! I like what you said “that yes begins with a willingness followed by an action and that for the yes to really be a yes, we have to treat it like a verb.” We need more positive thoughts and actions in this world; especially after this week!

  3. When I trained for my first marathon many years ago, one of my group leaders said, “Once you do this, you can do anything. You’ll face your challenges differently and you will succeed…even if you fail.” And she was right. It takes time and patience to rebuild and to accept that “yes” can be a part of your life.

  4. YES YES YES!!!!! What an inspiring and powerful message here Ilene. SO beautiful and empowering! Did you see the footage of the runners going back to officially finish the race yesterday? This group was with my High School bestie’s husband- he made it to the finish line early before the bombs, but others didn’t. This was their first marathon and they didn’t get to finish it because of the bombs. It’s just so cool- I’ll have to find the link to share with you on FB.

  5. I’ve been doing this a lot lately – saying “yes” – especially in my career. I have to admit, it leads to moments of panic for me but the payoff in the end is great. So liberating.

  6. When I see the word Namaste, I burst into tears. What a lovely post. I want to say yes too. I am scared to say yes and step out and face fear. This was a great post for a gray and somber Friday.

  7. Yes. Thank you for this, Ilene. This event has hit me where I never thought it would. Home. I have friends and family members under lockdown right now. This post is a good reminder to say yes, because we might not get the chance to later on. Hugs to you!

  8. This depicts the spirit we should all be trying to take on in our daily lives. We say “no” all too often. Thank you for sharing this…”yes” to tomorrow!

  9. Thank you Rabia – and it’s so true about yes being a verb! That’s not an original thought of mine, by the way, it comes from something I read by Baron Baptiste, the yoga master. But when I read it, it really resonated. Because until we put the yes into action, it’s just a word. Namaste xo

  10. Isn’t a marathon life changing for this reason? It requires so much of us – more than we think we have – and then, you realize if you just take one step more, you will be that much closer to where you want to go. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done and I am so glad you have been gifted with the experience as well.

  11. I didn’t see the footage but I will have to watch it – and I will cry. Oh, will I cry. Because despite the magnitude of loss last week – and I don’t want to minimize the human tragedy aspect whatsoever, I am so glad that those runner still got to finish what they set out to do.

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