You are more.
So I wasn’t able to cross the finish line this time. I made it to 26k and the race organizers told me to stop. They were opening up the roads to traffic, shutting down aid stations, and I wasn’t fast enough to make the time limit.
I was heartbroken. I had come so far. Not just on this particular day, but in my overall marathon training. I had just run 32 kilometers a few weeks earlier.
But I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t also a tiny bit relieved. I had been running faster than I normally do, and was getting a bad headache and stomach cramps at that point. So I had to make a tough call. I promised myself I would listen to my body and stop if I needed to, but I also felt indebted to my friends who had donated money to this whole marathon project.
I thought about just running along the sidewalks, and tried that for awhile. That didn’t go so well. I kept having to push my way around crowds, and was hit with walls of cigarette smoke from people outside the bars and cafes. That was awful.
I then realized that I didn’t have enough water on me for another 16k in the sun, and I didn’t really know where I was going. I couldn’t see any runners in front of me, and since the race organizers had started taking down the ropes marking off the course, the path forward wasn’t clear anymore.
So I called my partner for a second opinion, and eventually decided that the wise thing to do was to just listen to my body and stop. I guess it was time. Still, it hurt. Six months of training, telling just about everyone I know, planning and fundraising had me very committed. It’s hard to trip up when you’re so fully into something.
Yet life is all about this. I know this intuitively. I read about the ‘fail forward’ mentality that makes people wiser and businesses stronger. But that doesn’t mean it comes easy and doesn’t sting a little bit in the moment.
Anyway, here’s the cool thing: there is always a silver lining. When my race was over, it gave me extra time to take a shortcut and meet my friend to run him over the finish line. Just like he ran me over my marathon finish line last year in Barcelona. Eventually, everything comes full circle.
While calming down and waiting for him to arrive, I also learned a thing or too. I watched as 4 hour marathoners hobbled, struggled and barely made it to the end. Some of them seemed ready to faint. Others took it with pure ease. I smiled when I saw a man from Israel running fast and steady with a pineapple balancing on his head.
And I felt humbled watching people run while pushing friends and family members in wheel chairs.
We all have our own battles to fight. Some have it easier and some have it harder. And most people are fighting battles I know nothing about. So I’ve decided to be grateful, be kind to myself and feel proud anyway.
I also learned that people can see when your heart is in it, and love is stronger than any failure. Thanks to all my friends, colleagues and family members who sent text messages saying, “I’m proud of you anyway’!” And thanks to everyone who donated to Habitat for Humanity’s Ukraine project.
Finally, I leave you with this:
-You are more than that race.
-You are more than your job.
-You are more than any goal you set.
-Get back up and go for it again, and get busy living and loving.
Until next time,