Conquering the Marathon

It’s been two weeks since the last time I posted, but my desire to live life motivated and motivate others continues. So what better way to do it than to share a story of my own.

Setting a goal and reaching it is about discipline. But it’s also about persistence and motivation!

Six months ago I had just completed my longest run in a 10k Mud Run. It was demanding, disgusting, and fun – all those adjectives in one packed day! After that run a friend of mine invited me to join him and another friend of ours for a Marathon. He said it would be a bigger challenge but that I was physically up for it. Without yet knowing the full distance (I still get confused between my Km and Miles), I said yes and never looked back. I got a training schedule that would slowly increase my running distance over a four month period, and the next time my friend and I met he was surprise to find out I had taken it serious. Fast forward to last Sunday and I can proudly say I’ve completed my first Marathon. It will go down as one of the best memories of my life. 5 hours and 20 minutes of continuous running just to complete the coveted 26.2 miles!

Looking back at all those days of training – short and long runs alike – all it took was discipline, persistence and motivation. I had set a goal and I was committed to achieving it. These three words explain my commitment to keep pressing on. They are also key to reaching other goals in life as I learned a lot from this experience.

Discipline – Once I had decided to run a marathon I recognized that I needed training. Even though I knew I couldn’t always keep up with the regimented schedule of weekday long runs (due to work and family), I still committed to exercising during the week and having long runs during the weekend. I never missed one of those weekend runs. Whether I felt good or not, rain or shine, I got out on the road and kept running. There were days that I doubted myself and my ability to run these long distances. I remember thinking that I needed to keep going and stick to the plan. It paid off on the day of the marathon! Discipline is about planning the work and working the plan.

Perseverance – Those training days were hard! Seriously, after a long work week the last thing I wanted was a physical push to my body. But I kept going. Even when other friends had better plans than to spend time running. Even when there was something interesting on TV. Even when my body preferred some lighter workout. Even when… (you fill in the blank). On the day of the marathon I remember my friends words of wisdom, “one foot in front of the other.” That is all you need to keep pushing through; to persevere and run a marathon!

Motivation – During those long weekend runs, there was one thing that kept me motivated. It was the same thing that kept me motivated during the day of the marathon – my family and friends! Running a marathon is a huge accomplishment, but I was only made aware of this when my wife and children would wait for me in anticipation during those long training runs. I remember the words of encouragement: “you did great,” “that was quick,” or “you will conquer that marathon!” Those words played in my head over and over during the day of the marathon.

Additionally, my friends and I kept encouraging each other every week. Our running was always a topic of conversation when we would meet. We were together through each of the 26.2 miles. They were there during the hardest time of the run. The last 6 miles were particularly difficult for me. I wanted to just stop and walk. I remember my friends saying “do not stop now,” “don’t walk, keep running,” or “we’re going to finish strong!” That continuous support was key for me.

Completing the marathon was a huge accomplishment. I will remember the day, but also the training and the support that helped me through each mile. A great example for other areas of my life.

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My friends Jason, Derek and myself.

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Inspiring story 1 – Undefeated

A week ago I followed the 84th edition of the Oscars just like many people do every year. However, my true interest wasn’t on the most glamorous awards such as Best Movie, Best Actor or Best Actress. No, my attention was on a real life documentary by the name of Undefeated. It won the award for Best Documentary. A truly inspiring story that unveils the real power of real motivation. The power of connection between human beings setting a goal that challenges their environment and their past experiences.

This is a story about the Manassas High School football team. A school that for 110 years of existence never won a football play-off game. But this is a story far more entangled in the sub-plots of inner-city life and the difficulties associated with it. Three players are highlighted by their life struggles, while a volunteer coach shows them how to have confidence in themselves. On and off the field. It is indeed a remarkable story about the human heart.

So how can this story inspire you? Have you felt powerless in face of a challenge? Do you have some nay-sayers in your life? Do you lack the belief that you can actually achieve that which you have always aimed for? Maybe this is you or maybe not. But I’m pretty sure this story resonates with most of us. The reality is that we all have challenges. We all have experienced failure in some way. And that is okay. Our life is made of ups and downs and we are just called to play the game.

One of my favorite quotes in the clip above is when coach Courtney says:

You think football builds character. It does not. Football reveals character.

I hope you find motivation in this story. Reveal your character in your life and be a winner in any and all circumstance!