As I train for a marathon coming up on May 20th, I find that my experience while training is very much like my journey to become the best version of myself possible. The best version of who God made me to be!
Right now it’s winter and it’s cold here in Chicago. Training for a marathon is hard, but harder when you’ve taken 6 months off of any serious training. As I was running this week I couldn’t help but think about how the experience of training to complete and accomplish 26.2 miles is very similar to my journey of personal growth.
I started training 4 weeks ago. The first week was terrible. The distances were not that far each time and the weekly volume was less than 20 miles, but I was constantly fighting my desire to stop and walk. It was a frustrating experience when you know you can continue, but your mind says stop and walk. Add in the stupid cold which I hate training in and the “stop running and walk” thoughts won a lot that first week. Then week 2 came and it got a little better. Some days were ok, and other days were lousy again; my mind always trying to spread doubt – always trying to convince me that I was tired and I need to walk. As I run one of my mantras is “I persist and I succeed” and I just keep repeating it over and over and over. Sometimes my mind drifts off and then I come back to it. Week 3 was more of the same as week 2, but I could feel my body and mind were finally beginning to adjust, accept, and change.
This week (week 4 of training) I had an incredible training run on Wednesday. It was a short 5 miles with a progression to my tempo pace of 7:40 over the last 2 miles and holding at the tempo pace for 3-5 minutes. I felt amazing, everything was clicking, my breathing was good, the sun was shining on my face, it was about 41 degrees which was much warmer than the past few weeks, and I felt great. I didn’t really have any desire to stop and walk, my mind was saying oh yea we got this! Since the first 3 miles were at a nice easy pace, I was literally holding myself back because I knew I could turn it on an any moment and as the 3 miles approached I was anxious to begin the steady increase in pace. There was that really small part of me wondering if I’d be able to keep my tempo pace for those 3-5 minutes, but that thought was easily easily overrun by “oh yea we got this”. It was an amazing run and the first physical sign and proof that the training is starting to make a difference.
Today as I ran a short 3 miles, (I have 10 tomorrow) it was back to the 20’s, a strong wind, and a windchill in the teens. On the second half the wind was in my face almost the entire time. I could have easily allowed my thoughts to drift back into man this sucks and hey you’re tired let’s walk, but I simply wouldn’t allow that to happen. I immediately used the Law of Substitution and said “I persist and I succeed”. Then I thought of the wind as a metaphor for my old blueprint wanting to hold me back. That old blueprint is like a freezing cold wind blowing right at me in my face trying like hell to convince me to stop, to slow my forward progress and my momentum and then I shouted “Is that all you’ve got?” “bring it on, because you are not going to stop me. I’m doing this and there’s nothing you can do to stop me. I’m going to run right freaking thru you!” Then I pictured myself accomplishing my goal and finishing the marathon; I see myself as I cross the finish line totally juiced that I ran a 3:25 Boston qualifier!!! And I continue on to finish my run.
I absolutely know there are going to be other hard training days ahead, but my mind is now at a point where the desire and confidence to accomplish my goal are the driving force. My goal is already achieved in my head. Now it’s just a matter of putting in the work which is being driven from the inside. It’s game over at this point!
Like the challenges of running, this is the journey I am on to make changes in myself. I know that God has blessed me with skills, gifts, and abilities that I have yet to scratch the surface on. I pray every day that He helps me to make the changes I need to become the best version of myself possible. I absolutely know that as I continue on, just like with my running, my mind will begin to accept the new reality that I am choosing for myself. The old blueprint, will be replaced by the one I was always meant to have to live life full-out! To massively serve and impact those around me! At the end of my life I want to look back and know I did my best.
I love this quote from the week 20 training:
“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” John R. Wooden, Head Basketball Coach, Emeritus,
May you all strive to be your best and achieve exactly that! I know you can. I believe in you! Yes it’s hard work, but it’s so freaking worth it!