Yesterday Eliud Kipchoge ran a sub 2-hour marathon. Yes, there are a number of factors that disqualify this accomplishment as an official world record. But WOW! Like the 4-minute mile, there were many who questioned if someone could do it.  Now it’s been done. It’ll be interesting to see if removing the mental barrier allows other runners to push past 2 hours similar to what happened with the 4-minute mile.

These crazy fast speeds overwhelm the common person. I run plenty, and keeping up this crazy speed for even one mile is beyond my reach – not to mention a full marathon. But, I still run marathons. My personal goal is to run a marathon every year until I die. Since 2005 when I first ran the AZ Rock-n-Roll marathon, I’ve run every year. Some years, it’s been 3 or 4. But always at least 1. My goal isn’t to collect a huge bundle of marathon finisher medals. But, I do have a bundle. My goal is to push myself over the years to stay fit and healthy enough to run a marathonevery year until I die.

Staying healthy enough to run a marathon every year means I need to be running, eating right and generally taking good care of my body. Those things give me obvious benefits that are far more important than the marathon and another medal.

If you’re like me (thinking about your own marathon). Leading up to that first marathon in Phoenix, it felt almost dangerous. I was reading about the marathon, remember the first guy running to warn his people. He did it, then he died. And as it turns out, if I drink too much, I could die. If I drink too little, I could die. Looking back – it was all pretty dumb. Yes, I’ve run in marathons where multiple people where taken to the hospital with dehydration and heat stroke. But generally, our bodies have enough internal signals telling us to slow down, drink more water, or even drop out. Although I will say, people who run marathons are self-selected and self-trained not to quit.

I’ve helped several friends prepare for their first marathon. And, before the big day, I always tell them. The actual marathon is a celebration for all the hard work you’ve done. If you’ve properly trained, it’s simply a celebration with a bunch of friends and strangers.

Last weekend, I ran the St. George Marathon with several friends (we all ran different speeds). It was a big day for my friend Steve. Over the past several years, he has lost almost 140 lbs. by eating healthy and enjoying running as exercise. He’s an amazing person, a dedicated single dad (lost his wife to cancer several years ago), who’s total transformation is inspirational! I ran the last mile with Steve and it was a celebration. Of course he was exhausted, but when we turned the last corner and he saw his kids. Wow, you could see the joy in his eyes! It wasn’t a 2-hour marathon, but the preparation and faith that led up to that moment was equally huge.

When I texted Steve this week to give him some advice in easing back into running to allow his body some recovery… he said, “I’m planning to run on Wednesday. I have 2 more half marathons this month.” I was going to take the week off. His enthusiasm got me running again on Thursday and I ran up my favorite canyon yesterday. The autumn leaves, smells and chilly air was amazing.

This is me and Steve 26 miles away from the finish line. Celebrating a moment together!

In life (as with marathons), it’s not the destination, it’s the journey. And, the journey includes the thousands of miles of preparation.

The preparation is what qualifies us for the (often unknown) challenges ahead. Looking back, the challenges actually seem to be preparing us for an increasingly more difficult future.

After running that first marathon in 2005, my personal realization was that I’ve placed mental barriers around my limits. At that point, a marathon seemed nearly unattainable. Since then, I’ve run almost 30 marathons. And, I’ve come to believe – mental barriers are truly imaginary!

Whatever is stopping you from trying something really difficult…cut the crap! I could give you story after story of people with physical disabilities achieving the seemingly impossible. I have a personal friend with cerebral palsy who has completed multiple marathons on crutches. That takes SUPER HERO type faith and commitment to get to the starting line and put one foot in front of the other to the finish.

Decide what you want in life and do it!

It doesn’t need to be marathons. It might be a family. It might be swimming. Or, it might be a special skill you’ve always wanted to master. But, deep inside you – you have a list. It might be short. It might be long. And, guaranteed, after you start checking off things that previously seemed unachievable; you’ll start to add things to the list that previously felt silly-stupid-impossible.

If you want it, ask the universe. Pray to God. And most importantly believe in yourself. Nearly every failure in all history could be categorized as ‘never tried – never started.’ The very first step toward success is that step toward the starting line.

If you don’t start.  You’ll never finish.  If you never finish, you’ll never truly understand your unlimited capacity to do great things.

I promise you that the limits of your potential are far beyond your ability to imagine today.

PS: none of this is really about running – running is simply the metaphor for a thousand other things in life which are infinitely more important!

2 thoughts on “Life’s Marathon

  1. Hi Conrad >> you been the great inspiration to lot of people. You spread that positivity around, every line up speaks the experience of yours. You kind off tap the talent in people and which helps people to start or make the move toward the startline. I just love you as a person who has all the good things.

    1. Thank you Sowmya. I have no doubt that we are here on earth to learn and grow. I learn from you. You learn from me. We help each other. Your friendship has been a great blessing to me. Namaste!

Comments are closed.