Well, my third marathon is now in the books. It was cold. It was hard. It was my worst clocked time ever. But in the end, it was a victory.
Yesterday’s marathon was about raising money for Girls on the Run and honoring my sister. Yes. In the back of my mind I imagined that I would shave MANY minutes off my previous marathon times. Of course I wanted to do better. It wasn’t better (it was worse) and that is OK.
There were great miles…miles that seemed to fly passed – many times I would think, “wow, a mile marker already!” But there were also miles that felt like they went on forever and I would think, “Where the hell is mile 19?!”But with each mile that passed, I thought about the girls I coach…the girls who I teach to just move forward; the ones I tell that if they are going to walk, walk with purpose; the girls I tell that it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, you should have pride in the fact you are out there doing something; the girls I tell that I am proud of them no matter what their pace. See, I tell them these things and I wholeheartedly believe them, but as many people have told me and I know of myself, I am a MUCH better coach than I am an athlete. By that I don’t mean my performance, I mean in listening to the words I say and applying them to myself.
But yesterday was different…yesterday I listened to the words I speak to my girls throughout the season and I felt good; I felt proud. I also thought about my sister. I thought about how much I missed her. I thought about all the times she told me I was stronger than I thought I was and it was at those moments when I started to feel defeated because I was walking that I realized I was doing this marathon not for time, but for honor. It was to honor a sister who was my biggest cheerleader and even in death continues to propel me forward…who reminds me to do what I love and live my dreams. I was also doing it to honor my daughter and the girls I coach who inspire me every day to be a better person and to truly practice what I preach.
So, as people ask me how yesterday went, my answer has been, “It was my worst time, but it was my best mentally.” Never did I beat myself up, telling myself that I was unworthy to be cheered for. Never did I consider quitting. I moved forward. I believed that what I was doing, no matter what my clock time was going to be, was going to be a victory.