On November 4, 2012 I was supposed to cross the finish line in Central Park and say that I had run 2 marathons, and not just any 2 marathons, but 2 NYC marathons. A goal that I had set out to do approximately one year ago and just a few days prior to the scheduled event, the reality of achieving that goal was swept from under my feet and all of a sudden my very realistic and achievable goal was no longer achievable and/or as important as other things. Thousands of runners had a goal to achieve on that day, but life happened and we were not lined up on the starting line in Staten Island on that very day. Thousands of runners trained hard for the past several months in order to ensure they were going to be ready on November 4th to achieve their goal. Training for a marathon is not just about running, which many people do not realize. Training for a marathon requires a lot of work, including mental training, rehearsing what you eat before runs, during runs, after runs, stretching, cross training, and discipline, among other things.
Clearly, given the circumstances I was not surprised this event was cancelled, and honestly was happy that it was, for many reasons, but the let down of not achieving that goal may still be present for some. The question is what to do now? I feel fortunate to have already run a NYC marathon, so perhaps I was not as upset by this as others may have been. But I challenge people to look at the journey rather than the finish line. Look at all that was accomplished during the training. Most runners run at least 20 miles prior to race day, which is still a huge accomplishment. Also, look at the health you have achieved, both mental and physical. Perhaps the weight you had lost, the decreased cholesterol, or blood pressure from increased activity, and the decreased stress. Look at the discipline you had for the past several months and all that you learned about yourself during the process. What about the friendships you created with fellow runners or teammates? What about all of the money you raised, if you were doing this for a charity? You achieved a lot! Don’t let the goals achieved leading up to the big goal be unrecognized. Don’t forget the amazing journey and all you DID accomplish. And honestly, there are other marathons. Several people ran in the unofficial marathon in central park, some people are looking for marathons to run in the next few weeks, or there is always next year.
It’s funny, for me, I said this would be my last full marathon, yet I actually got excited about continuing the journey and achieving even more than I did this year (perhaps a better time, better health, raising more money, etc.). For me, it was not about the finish line, but about everything that goes into training for a marathon. I feel amazing. I love running, it provides an outlet for me, it gives me strength, it gives me hope, and it reminds me what our mind and body is capable of doing. I always say, life happens, it can be challenging at times, but we need to cope with whatever is thrown our way. Remember life is a journey; don’t focus so much on the end result, but focus on the smaller goals and steps it takes to get there. You may just have more fun and realize more if you acknowledge the ride, as opposed to the finish line. Now get out there, get moving, and enjoy whatever it is you are doing….and perhaps I will see you in 2013 on the starting line in Staten Island.