This time, about four years ago, I was preparing to run my first Miami Half Marathon. While in training, I didn’t have my sights set on any particular (time) goal, all I knew is that I wanted to finish the race, and secondly I didn’t want to walk any part of the race. As race day approached, I was very confident that my training and hard work leading up would help guide me through. When the gun sounded to release the runners I ran out as fast as I could for as long as I could, before I finally hit a wall and felt exhausted. At about the two and a half mark I felt weak. Defeated. I didn’t know how I was going to finish the race. Yet, I kept going. I promised myself I wouldn’t walk and I wasn’t going to give in. So, I decided to pick up a very slow-paced jog. What I found, is that by about mile 4 I’d overcome those feelings of helplessness. That initial “wall” I’d hit, had been knocked down by continuing to put one foot in front of another. Why I share this with you is because much like a marathon, or half marathon, we hit obstacles and roadblocks in life. Even when we train, prepare, and work hard, obstacles are still inevitable. What I’ve found though is that we must stick to the plan and stay mentally tough – continuing to put one foot in front of the other.
You see, it’s easy in life to start a new business, to start a new project, to begin on a new goal and have a lot of enthusiasm, passion, and work invested into it. However, what’s really difficult is being able to FINISH despite the roadblocks and obstacles sure to arise. And that’s what matters most. Had I allowed that one and a half mile stretch where I felt weak and defeated to bring me down, I would have never finished the race. Instead of quitting, however, I decided I’d continue with my plan despite the pain and adversity. It didn’t matter how long it was going to take me to finish, all that mattered was that I would finish.
Too often in our lives, we quit just short of our dreams. We give up on that second mile because it feels too painful to continue. It doesn’t seem as though you’ll ever reach the end. When you’re having such feelings in life, just remember, it’s not about how you start, or even where you start, but more importantly, it matters most in how you’ll finish! And if you choose to finish STRONG, if you choose to put everything you’ve got into what it is you’re trying to accomplish, you can’t be beat. Because even if you are initially, even if you are rejected again and again and again, and nothing seems to be going your way, eventually staying the course, trusting your plan, and putting one foot in front of the other will allow you to have the finish you envision!
**Below, here I am pictured after my first race. I ended up finishing in 1:53:28 – an 8:40min/mile pace – placing me 1,535 out of 11,316 half marathon finishers. Although I hadn’t initially been concerned with my pace, this “sight” now helps to serve as a reminder that when I want to give up in other areas of life, I must just stick to the plan and realize that persistence and perseverance are key to accomplishing any and all dreams.