Over the past four months, I’ve quietly wanted to share my every experience with anyone willing to listen. With anyone who showed an ounce of curiosity, to what I am trying to accomplish at weeks end. When November came along, and the temperatures had dipped below the freezing mark, the snow began to fall, it was then, that I felt it necessary to make a promise to my well being. I made a promise that I am now faced with, a responsibility and a decision in which I needed to see through until its very end. I swore to my heart, that things would be better. That accomplishing something I had previously thought impossible, would in return, allow me to believe that everything is possible. This would undeniably open up an entirely new world, an endless world of hope and courage. To understand that you never fail, if you try.
During these four months, there have been several days, in which, I could barely overcome even life’s simplest tasks. However, having always managed to keep this objective in the forefront of my mind, I overcame the obstacles in life that try to convince me that giving up is the better solution. After all, when everything is said and done, there is no telling how I will respond when it is over after the lesson was taught. Could I regain the strength in my heart that I was searching for? Would I believe in something that I previously believed to be untrue? Knowing, that in the end, all the hard work and dedication would fill me with self-pride and it is what I do with that, that will reward me in the end. The reward of pride that no one can ever take away and no one can ever compare or relate to. This is something that I can already feel. A feeling that will stay with me long after the goal ends, the snow tapers off, and my last breath of air has been captured. Knowing what I have endured to this point, makes the actual day itself, seem rewarding. I was searching for something that had been with me the entire time- possibility. When you find it, and you feel like it could be everlasting, you will succeed in all that you have been willing to earn. I quickly realized that this life changing event for me, that I had my heart set on, may just simply be an idealistic, idiotic decision to others – to say the least. I want you to know that this is not true. The premise behind anything in life, as I learned this week, from a dear friend, is to understand that what you’ve lost or whatever you haven’t found yet to date in life, doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve it or that you’ve given it up for good — We all get a chance, every morning, to fill the gaps, to replace sadness with happiness, to whole-heartedly go after the things that matter, to admit that we are all in repair, and to actively pursue what we need to be our very best. And this, this is what I needed to do to be the very best in my life, and that is as far from idiotic, as I could ever perceive attainable.
One hundred and fourteen days have passed, as well as the majority of winter, and it’s finally here. Something I have mentally prepared and three quarter-passively trained for. Shin splints, blisters, chafing, bloody nipples, leg cramps, sore joints, muscle spasms and hours upon hours of treadmill time, my time. In four months, I ran nearly from Toledo to Louisville and back in mileage. I have endured countless sixty minute max time limits on a treadmill that turn into several “stop and start”, repeat performances. I have willingly,offered two hours of my time, for a few one hundred and fifty-four dull and stagnant sessions of running laps around a less than tenth of a mile indoor track. I have trained for something outdoors, indoors. I saw people come and go, day turn into night, and every Saturday become a dedicated three hour ordeal. Friday nights often never happened. They were instead short nights dedicated to icy hot and frozen bags of peas strategically placed on my legs as a weekday thank you and a Saturday precaution. I woke up every morning at 7am, on my trip to Key West, to run the streets. I hurdled over empty beer bottles, avoided chickens, and cautiously maneuvered around the morning pedicabs. I welcomed the unfamiliar sun’s warmth, as it almost seemed to brush against my pale face. I hoped for the occasional slight breeze from the Atlantic Ocean, as I circled the tiny island on several occasions. Every day, every moment, picturing what it will hopefully be like in the late afternoon of February 28th, 2010. Within a span of ten months, I will have ran my first 5K and attempted my first marathon. I have discovered a passion in something that was not only once far from attainable, but hardly an option – especially, as a past time activity. That was then. I now realize, that it’s much more than an activity. It’s allowed me to experience a life without reservation. During this time, I have relived my “life moment” over and over after each step. Thinking about family, friends, lost love, and self worth. Often, making my training an emotional time. Nevertheless, what I seem to gain before, during, and after is enough reward to re-enlighten my soul and entitle myself to once again feel optimistic about who I was and am, as an individual and my pursuit for happiness.
It’s all about pride, the best kind of pride, self pride. Something that you have gained, individually, that in return, will be used to help others. These accomplishments in life, that you find rewarding, are the entities in which you want to share. Like a child’s firsts, the experience and revelation, that you are witnessing something for both the first and possibly last time, all in one brief moment. It overwhelms you with assurance that what you have put forth in life, thus far, has never been unaccounted for. After all, when life is said and done, no matter how long you’ve lived, life is one brief moment. Everything you have endured, while striving for the best, has hopefully been rewarded in the end. For you and others around you. When you are a better person, others will aim to be as well. If we can somehow succeed in what we do and in return, not be satisfied, but instead pass along what we have come to learn- the world can be a better place. I can not compare my attempt at running 26.2 miles, to having a child, nor should I. However, I relate to parenting. I understand that it is a thankless job and what you are “expected” to do, can be taken for granted. That accolades in life are ongoing, and instant gratification is not anything worth competing for. I admire what you have done and even when no one is there at the finish, or your story goes untold, I can see it in your eyes and most importantly you can feel it in your heart. This is what i have learned, why, if I can not share my experiences with anyone in life, I will know they will always be known to another who can coexist in this world with the self pride and the courage to pass it along.
The greatest idea about running is that you can do it practically anywhere at anytime. Anything that I have accomplished over this span of time, you can achieve as well. It costs nothing and requires less. Other than time, willingness, and devotion, which are all qualities we need to consume in life, it is all merely a simple decision. Not can I or can’t I, if, what, or how- it’s yes, I will. Every time I have stepped onto an open road, or treadmill and put on my headphones, I have been set free. I have allowed myself to remove any negative thoughts and release them along the way. To regain everything positive and end up a better man, for myself. Proving nothing to anyone, however, accounting for every intention at hand. If I reach the finish, and a medal happens to be placed around my neck as a reward, I will smile, knowing my reward was given to me four months ago, when I said yes. Self pride will have prevailed and this is what I will in return, walk away with forever..
* I dedicate this to run to :
Loved ones lost
Friends and Family- Who never refuse to leave my side (even if it’s deserved)
Annie- For always keeping my faith in the belief that the best is yet to come
My Mom- To let her know that everything she has ever done, has never gone unnoticed. For being the best mother, daughter, sister and wife. For never leaving anyone’s side. Her mother’s, father’s, sister’s, husband’s, daughter’s, and mine. Ever.
An email I received 4 mo.ago- To proving it wrong, one day at a time.
Sam Beam- For helping me share this story by constantly listening to “Sodom, South Georgia”.