Monday, November 12, 2007

One Conscious Thought...

Happy November Pasadena Lufriends!

Most of you know that on Sunday, November 4, I ran and completed the NYC marathon. What most of you don't know is how hard it was to finish, and how much more mental strength a marathon requires. What? You mean it's not about strong legs and lungs? on!

I ran the NYC marathon because I was challenged to enter the lottery by a Michelin co-worker. All of my co-workers know that I am a runner, and most interested in all things fitness. I think those who don't run think that EVERY runner does marathons. That is a false assumption! I had never had a desire to do a marathon. I have run half marathons, and other distance challenges involving multiple sports, but never a full marathon prior to New York. My co-worker challenged me to enter the lottery for NYC. He told me: "You probably won't get in, so don't worry about it. However, if you do get in, you know it's meant to be. " I fully believed that meant that if I got in, there was something God wanted me to learn from this. If not, it would be the proof that I shouldn't ever run 26.2 miles at one time.

So you all know the end of the story. I got in. Approximately 100,000 entrants bought a lottery ticket ($10) and only about 40,000 got race entries. I was one of the 40% who hit it big in that lottery. On July 2, I started my marathon training program and committed to train my mind and body to complete the marathon on November 4. Training was pleasantly uneventful. Mid way through I had pretty painful hip issues, but was able to run through them with a lot of determination and my new found love for yoga and Paul Katani's Saturday morning class. These two additions to my training helped strengthen my body, while giving it time off from the stresses of those long runs of 15 or more miles.

The physical part of the training went well. I knew physically I could handle this challenge. About 3 weeks before the race, finally, I felt mentally ready. Something just "clicked" on a long run, and I knew that I had "it" in me to finish the distance in New York. So, I was ready!

Race weekend arrived. I was a nervous wreck. At times I can be paralyzed by perfection. What I mean here is, I won't go out unless I go out great. I was so worried about all the unknowns of the marathon. I had never run in NY. You don't run more than 20 miles in your training. What about those last 26.2?

The guns went off. It was an amazing and emotional start. The toughest hills of the entire course were the first two miles on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, but I was so excited I didn't even feel them. I signed up to run with the 4:15 pace group to finish in that time. I was so pumped during the race, at times I was outpacing my group and having to slow down and save energy. Miles 1 through 18 were a blast! I couldn't believe how fun this was. The ENTIRE course was lined with cheering spectators, NYC firefighters, church choirs in the streets, you name it. Mile 19 I felt a little tired. Mile 20 I was thrilled to see that number!

Mile 21 happened and my body decided it was time to quit. My mind was saying " This is stupid. Why am I here? I can't finish this. I am not a distance runner. This was a stupid challenge." But then I thought about all the people who knew I was running, who were watching me on the internet, or cheering and praying for me. I remembered the quote from the manifesto about One Conscious Thought. I decided to take control. For miles 21 through 24, I consciously and forcefully told myself:
"I am a marathon runner. I am happy to be here. I am so lucky! I am going to finish! I am strong! I have trained for this! This is not scary it is fun! Finishing is worth this fight!"
Over and over, I controlled my conscious thoughts.

You know the end of the story.
I finished! My time was 4 hours and 23 minutes. I was in the top 50% of all runers, and the top 25% of women. My times were impressive, but that's not what I'm taking away from this experience.

What did I learn from running the marathon? What did miles 21 through 24 teach me?
I can do anything I want to do. So can you. When you set goals, you set action plans and you tell people about them. You set out to achieve your goals You get 90% of the way, something happens and you have to decide whether achieving those goals is worth the fight. It IS worth the fight. You CAN finish. But the hard part it, it's up to YOU to believe in yourself. Everyone around you believes in you and will be there cheering for you at the finish. I can promise, with every goal will come reasons not to achieve them. You just have to decide if you are strong enough to fight for the finish and get that medal of achievement.

So, don't go out and run a marathon. Just tell yourself "I can do it." Those quotes on the manifesto aren't a waste of paper. Put them to work in your life, and you will see your world elevate from mediocrity to greatness!

My favorite shirt I saw while on the marathon course worn by other runners:

(Well, two favorites)

1) Pain is temporary...finishing lasts forever!

2) Powered by fear of aging.
(worn by a 50+ year old man who was super cool!)

Hugs and lu luv!

1 comment:

Tori said...

Wow Meredith! I am so proud of you! What an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your experience with "One Conscious Thought" What a powerful lesson!

Way to go!