We all need a Marathon.

We all need a Marathon.

Let me explain. We don’t all need to go out and physically run a marathon, but we all need that something that makes us work hard and stretch ourselves. That something that we can’t believe we’d ever do that we can be beyond proud of accomplishing.

My husband gave me this idea a few weeks ago and I’ve been turning it over in my head for a while. He thought I should do a TED-talk-like video blog, and maybe I’ll work on that next as I would like to be a better public speaker and be more comfortable on camera (my next Marathon perhaps?).

Anywho. What prompted me to sit down and start this post was an absolutely horrible article I read yesterday titled “Ok, You’re a Runner. Get over it.” I will not provide a link in this post as I do not want to spread any more of this guys Negative-Nancy thoughts. But, if you want to find it, I’m sure you’ll be able to. The gist of the article was that all runners are narcissistic show-offs who put themselves out on “one-person parades” when we go for a run and further seek pats on the back by driving around with 13.1, 26.2, 70.3, and/or 140.6 stickers and magnets on our cars.

Reading this article filled me with a multitude of emotions that were and still are hard to comb through. On one hand, I’m pissed off. When I go for a run by myself, yes, it is all about me. It’s time for me to exercise, relax, breath, listen to my body, and destress. And me doing all those things for myself is, in turn, a favor to the greater good. Trust me. Or ask Jason. So maybe it’s not ALL about me. But what a run by myself certainly is NOT is a “one-person parade” showing off for anyone whose path I might cross.

On the other hand, I’m sad. I’m sad that there are people who view runners this way. Who are so insecure with their own selves that they have to tear apart another’s positive energy. And I’m sad that there are people who feel it is wrong to be proud of yourself.

Because there is nothing wrong with being proud of yourself and your accomplishments – no matter how big or small. If you aren’t proud of yourself, being the person who knows you best, knows what a big deal it was for you, and is intimately in tune with everything that went into the accomplishment, how else can anyone know to be proud of you too! I’ll say it again. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING PROUD OF YOURSELF.

My car proudly sports 5 magnets a 13.1, a 26.2, a 70.3, and a 140.6 on the back plus a little “Swim Bike Run” one on my gas cap. I’ve completed all of these races in the past year and each was something I never thought I’d be able to do. Each race completed signifies endless hours of training and lessons learned and confidence built that has enhanced the non-athletic parts of my life. And my magnets are just one way that I show that I’m proud of me. They are there on my car after a long, lousy day at work to remind me that even if I made mistakes today, I can do something great tomorrow. They are there when I go to and leave the gym to remind me that what I’m doing there matters. But they are not the only way to express pride, it’s just one way I choose.

So back to that Marathon. My first Marathon was simply completing a triathlon. I researched it, I trained for it, became stronger both physically and mentally, learned to balance my time, and became more confident. And I think you’ll find that you go through most of these steps with any Marathon of any kind. In the days that followed my first tri, I remember walking around on cloud nine thinking “Wow! I’m a triathlete.”

As time goes by those cloud nine feelings begin to fizzle and you can start to feel a little down in the dumps. That’s the time to remember the great thing you just did and it’s also the time to pick your next Marathon, or in my case an Olympic distance tri, then a half marathon, then a marathon, then a half IRONMAN, and finally what I thought would be my ultimate Marathon – a full IRONMAN.

And so, it’s been about 10 weeks since IM Lou and I’m starting to feel those post-accomplishment doldrums and I’m beginning to think about my next Marathon… I’ll let you know when I decide.

But that’s not the point.

The point is that we all need a Marathon. Maybe it is an actual marathon. Or maybe it’s a 5k. Or maybe it’s not athletic at all. Maybe it’s performing your own music in public. Maybe it’s writing a book. Maybe it’s starting your own business. Whatever it is, take a second to think. Think about that thing that you’ve seen few other people do where they had your immediate respect simply because they did it. That thing that thing you said “I’ll never be able to _____” but silently dreamed about how you wanted to.

It’s possible.

It may not be easy. It may not be quick. It may not even be fun the entire time.

But, in the end, it will be worth it.

You will be a better person for accomplishing it.

And you should be proud of yourself.

So, What’s your Marathon?

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