On a day when I had a very frustrating, uninspired run, one that I normally breeze through and feel confident with myself, a friend posted something on Facebook that I swear was written just for me (it wasn’t really, but somehow, she knew just what I needed to hear at that moment):
It gets better. Never ‘easy’ but better…2 years ago, I couldn’t do this. A year ago, I couldn’t. But water cuts through rock because it is persistent. Not because it is strong. Be the water. Don’t give up. Keep going a little further. Just a little faster. You’ve got this. I promise. Besides, one day it will be you saying this to someone just beginning. Or struggling. Keep going. Be the water. You’ll look up one day and that big boulder will split in two and you will cruise right by!
— April H., Facebook post 28 August 2015
You see, two years ago, I never wanted to run long distances and couldn’t have dreamed that I would once again be training for a marathon (I attempted this once for the Houston Marathon in 2000, but was thwarted from running it with a knee injury). One year ago, I was weeks away from my first half marathon, wondering if I could run even that far and finish that race. And somehow, today, I am only eight weeks away from my first marathon (oh yes, I will start and finish this one, if I have to crawl across the finish line to do it) because I have been persistent in my training. Like the water, I have continued in my path to the end goal, meeting rocks and obstacles along the way. Sometimes, they stop me in my tracks. But I regroup and find a way to push through and come out on the other side of that ‘rock’ because I am persistent. I’m not necessarily strong, or fast or good at running, but I am persistent. And in spite of the bad run days, I can and will regroup to find my way around the rocks. Apparently, I will have to do this many times throughout the training for this race, but I guess that is what it takes to get to the end point.
April, thanks for this pep talk. I have six weeks of hard training still ahead for the Marine Corps Marathon. There are boulders in my way, but as I continue to work towards my goal, I will find my way around them. And yes, I’ll get to the start line (and then the finish line) of the marathon and look up to see that the boulder is split in two, and I WILL cruise right past.
Without a doubt, this is my new mantra.