You Are Closer Now Than When You Started

“Angela, never tell a runner they are almost there.” These were the corrective words of my running coach to me as I was volunteering at the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. Thinking I was doing a good thing and encouraging them to keep going, I was enlightened that I  was actually making the last few miles of the race more difficult and even discouraging.

I was serving at the water station of mile marker 22. Only 4.2 miles to go. You would think that a runner could see the end in sight, at least in their mind’s eyes, having already conquered 22 miles. However, that assumption could not have been further from the truth. Even for the most avid runner, having paced yourself and staying focused is even more difficult while on the last leg. The mile, though it is still the same in distance, appears to get longer and longer. In actuality, you feel as though you will never reach the goal. “Who keeps moving it farther out anyway?” is just one of the tormenting thoughts that bombard the mind. Your mind plays tricks on you, thinking that you are going to pass out at any moment.

Small incentives become huge. I remember the time I ran my first marathon. The runners were told that when we finished the race we would have turkey subs waiting for us at the finish line. That turkey sub became so important to me. It gave me incentive to reach the goal. It was part of my “why” for finishing. It was when I crossed the finished line that I found out there were no more turkey subs, and my only option was peanut butter and jelly. Too tired to refute, I grabbed what they gave me. And, oh, did it taste so good! It was not the sandwich that I savored but rather the satisfaction of having conquered the run.

When training for my second marathon, the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon in D.C., I would tell myself on the longer distance runs, “I am not there yet, but I’m closer now than when I started!” These were the words I would use during the race to keep me going. That power boost of truthful positivity kept me focused and on track. I was not stopping until I reached my intended goal. I was not going to allow tiredness, soreness, or blisters to cause me to give up ground and distance that I had gained. If I did, my run would have been in vain. It was not about just running; it was about reaching the mark.

Be encouraged as you run unswervingly towards your hopes, dreams and goals. Do not give in to pain, discouragement or negativity. Do not give up any ground or distance that you have come. You do not want your run or labors to be in vain. Your goal is to reach your desired outcome. You will make it if you do not quit. Keep going. You may not be there yet, but you are closer now than when you started. Let’s keep growing and going. It’s a good time to be you!

Peace and Joy,

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