Thursday, April 26, 2012

Running the Distance

Life is all about love, laughter, surprises, and disappointments.  When life smacks you with disappointing news, you can choose to be angry or choose to turn it into opportunity.  All day I had anxiously awaited the arrival of GOOD NEWS.  When I confirmed that my dream of running the ING New York City Marathon was not going to happen, I wanted to let the tears flow.  It sounds silly, I know.  I'm even a little embarrassed to admit how much I wanted to be "IN."  Who the heck prays every night for months on end to be accepted into a race where you pay entirely too much money for an entrance fee and then shed blood, sweat and tears to run 26.2 miles, only to cross a finish line and receive a medal that will end up collecting dust?
However, you have to understand the MAGIC of this marathon.  It is simply amazing how the magic unfolds and changes your very being.  To run the ING New York City Marathon was simply one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  I had not been able to properly train because LIFE kept happening.  My longest run in the previous 12 months was only 13.1.  I knew I wanted more than anything to cross that finish line but wasn't quite so sure if that was going to happen.
I traveled to NYC and knew I could defer in person.  When one of my forever friends, heard my idea of deferment, she quickly put that idea to shame and told me to just go out there and DO IT.  I couldn't travel all the way to NYC and then not run the NEW YORK CITY MARATHON!  Once I walked through those expo doors, my decision was made.  I would do everything I could, to cross that finish line.
And I did!  One of the most unbelievable parts of this marathon was that I didn't even realize I was running 26.2 until Mile 15.  The crowds were out of this world.  Everywhere you looked, for miles on end, there were crazy fans yelling encouraging words to complete strangers.  I have never given so many high fives in a race before.  I had the time of my life!  I met complete strangers who become friends because of the stories we shared on why we were running.  It was a celebration of the human spirit overcoming obstacles and achieving goals, that had once upon a time ago, seemed unimaginable.  I wanted to experience it all over again.  I really, really did.  But today that dream came to a crashing end.
I tried not to dwell on it.  I thought about how thankful I was for the gift that I CAN RUN.  However, I knew I needed a replacement goal, to keep me striving to be the best runner that I can be.  I have secretly imagined running an ultra marathon.  I have only voiced this dream to a few people who understand the significance of such a race.  When I accidently spoke out loud while imagining how I could make this dream happen, my husband's response was "those people are crazy." 
I made a conscious decison very quickly and turned my disappointment into opportunity.  This year, I have decided I will run two marathons and a 50 Miler!  On October 13th, I will run the Rockway Beach marathon in New York, as a sponsored WhyMarathon Team Ambassador, then the Marine Corp Marathon on October 28th and finally, the JFK 50 Miler on November 17th.  If I can cross the finish line for all three races, I will achieve not one but two dreams.  I will have run an ultra marathon AND I can apply for Marathon Maniac status.  It will be more blood, sweat and tears than I can ever imagine but I want to push myself into unknown territory and aspire to achieve this new goal.  I know the majority of those who know me will be in agreement with my husband and will wonder why a person would subject themself to such torture?
"Some may ask why I am running such long distances. There are reasons. During the ultras I come to a point where my body is almost dead. My mind has to take leadership. When it is very hard there is a war going on between the body and the mind. If my body wins, I will have to give up; if my mind wins, I will continue. At that time I feel that I stay outside of my body. It is as if I see my body in front of me; my mind commands and my body follows. This is a very special feeling, which I like very much. . . It is a very beautiful feeling and the only time I experience my personality separate from my body, as two different things."  ~ Yiannis Kouros quote     
I am excited to begin this new journey in my life and the possibilty of opening myself up again to the magic and wonderment of turning a dream into reality...


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