It wasn’t my intention to blog today but I follow the Daily Prompt Blog that provides a different word to write about everyday. This morning in the middle of my latest round of insomnia, I posted a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr that I love. He said so many empowering things that I could probably post something every day for a year!
The one I selected spoke to me today because I found myself repeating it during the 2016 NYC Marathon.
I was a woman who couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without pain. I had to stop in the middle to catch my breath! Life was very different over 400lbs. As I started to lose weight after my RNY Gastric Bypass I needed to stay focused. Running a marathon was a dream I had for over 20 years. After seeing Oprah complete her marathon it became less of a dream but more of a possibility. Training was challenging but I held close to my mantra that if you just keep moving steps will become miles. And they absolutely did!
On the day of the marathon I had several hours to wait in the corral and it was advised that we dress warm and in layers. I changed my socks to something warmer than my usual low profile socks worrying about my ankles freezing. WHAT?
At Mile 6 that sock decision was a problem. Despite putting Body Glide absolutely all over the place I got a blister that was maddening and I still had 20.2 Miles to go.
There’s a bus the marathon sends around to pick up people struggling or injured and they get driven back. I saw the bus at Mile 8 and I had a fleeting thought that I could just hop on that bus and all the pain in my foot would be over.
Then I remembered why I was running. I ran for Fred’s Team for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Running for my family and friends that have have been held tightly in the grasp of cancer’s reach. Not all have survived. This race was for every person affected by cancer and my family, friends, and supporters were counting on me. I had to gather the strength.
My shirt from Active Faith features Isaiah 40:31 Those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
I needed to push past the discomfort. If that meant I had to walk and run to finish then fine. My only goal was to cross the finish line alive and I didn’t care how long it took.
At Mile 14 I met a woman who was also suffering but determined. We stayed together and while we advanced “with endurance the race set before us” we talked. Our conversations ran the full spectrum from family life to politics to people we admire. Then it flashed in my mind! The quote that I would repeat in my head for the final 10 Miles:
Several hours after after my start my new friend Kathy and I crossed the finish line and received the coveted medal that showed me I could finish what I start as long as I had faith and determination.
Life is like a marathon. You take steps and some will be joyful (Mile 3), you may have some discomfort (Mile 6), and you may think about quitting (Mile 13). But, if you keep moving forward in faith (Mile 16) and dig deep (Mile 24) you can finish strong (Mile 26.2).
Marathon, Faith and MLK Jr.