I Can Do It!
On October 9, 2016, I finished my first marathon in Chicago, Illinois. Running the marathon has always been a dream of mine, yet the journey towards this goal was unlike what I imagined it to be.
I have loved running since after joining the cross-country team at the beginning of freshman year in high school. After each year of doing the sport, I gained a new reason as to why I have a passion for running. Although cross-country is comprised of teams, running is an-individual sport. It demands athletes to train not only physically, but also mentally. Whether it be striving for a new personal record, or pushing through a faster and harder speed workout, running is never static. There is always improvement and something new that comes your way.
Now being in college, I wanted to embark on a new challenge. I wanted to do a marathon. I knew that running 3 miles is different than running 26.2 miles, but I did not know how great the difference was going to be. The training is longer, the body is sorer, the pacing is slower, and there are more times on the runs when you question, “ Why don’t I just stop?” I was not expecting how holistically difficult running a marathon is. Running a marathon is not just a physical test. It is also a mental and spiritual roller coaster that constantly forces you to be face-to-face with trials and doubts. I went through a cold, knee pain, and stress, especially when I had to struggle to fit 2-hour trainings into my schedule. Life gave me reasons why to give up and it made it much harder to believe that I could accomplish this.
This overwhelming mental game is evident in all of our lives. Telling ourselves “I can do it” is much more arduous that it seems. This statement may be comprised of four simple words, yet there are four words in which people constantly struggle to believe. Whether we accept it or not, all of us carry burdens on our shoulders that weigh us down each day. We may say to ourselves, "I can never be smart" or "I will never be noticed" or "It is impossible for me to be in shape" or "No one will understand me" or "I am simply not good enough." No matter how experienced or strong someone is, we all struggle to accomplish a goal in life. It may not be an actual marathon, but all us of have a marathon in our life.
We cannot control everything that happens to us in life, but we can decide what we make out of trials. It is you who decides what you will do today. It is you who will get out of bed. It is you who will choose whether or not to have faith. Our life is completely in our hands, which is a bit scary, but also beautiful. Seeing yourself change for the better allows you to recognize how capable and strong you really are. The days you run, the days you miss, the pains, the joy, the highs, the lows are challenges and lessons from which we learn to improve ourselves.
Running the marathon serves as a constant reminder to persevere. Wherever we are in our life-long race, the key is to just keep moving forward. You can walk it, or even jog for a little, but turning the other direction in the middle of the race is not worth it, because you deserve to cross that finish line. You deserve to see how truly amazing you are even amongst the struggles that come your way. God sees us as special all the time, even when we do not see it in ourselves. So do not give up. You are more than mishaps in life. You can do it. You can do anything. All you have to do is take is the first step. Then just go one step at a time.