A marathon is one of the best metaphors for so many things in life. Now that I’ve crossed the finish line, I can’t help but share some of them with you. If you follow my blog in any way, you’ll know I’ve got a few months left to share of my entire journey of reaching 26.2. But before its conclusion, I have to share these life lessons while it’s still fresh on my mind:
1. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. A marathon, like so many good things in life, isn’t easy. Sometimes, you gotta just deal.
2. Listen to your coach when he tells you to sandbag your energy early on in the race. It will make all the difference when you face the hardest miles.
3. Everybody needs a Korista Lewis in their life. I was supposed to have run the Dallas Marathon with her and our friend, Amy Farley. However, it was cancelled due to a freak ice storm. She found another race that same weekend and got her finisher’s medal. Amy, who’s already completed 2 marathons, had to go back to Africa where she lives. So Korista came to cheer me on. And did she ever! Picture this: hundreds of runners plowing through neighborhood streets with just a handful of spectators. It was pretty quiet. Until Korista saw me. That girl made an absolute fool out of herself jumping up and down and screaming, “Amy Van Pay!!! Woohoo!! You’ve got this!!! You’re looking great!!” Of course, I shamelessly threw my hands in the air letting everyone know I was the one getting those cheers! It was like getting gas put in my tank. Yes, EVERYONE needs a Korista Lewis.
4. Speaking of cheerleaders…nothing trumps family cheering you on and telling you how proud they are of you. Nothing. It’s an added bonus when your parents, your in-laws, and your husband all take turns running alongside you. My race would’ve been so much harder without my family!
5. “The Wall” might not jump up around the corner at mile 20 like everyone says. Instead, she might ruthlessly taunt you from miles 11 to 21. So at mile 18 you might have to start singing out loud with your iPod, “Settle down. It’ll all be clear. Don’t pay no mind to the demons they fill you with fear.” (Phillip Phillips ‘Home’)
6. Your ability to endure is directly related to how sure you are of finishing. The burden of being 100% unsure of crossing that line, can mess up your pace, breathing, ability to take in nourishment, pretty much everything you need to complete this thing. Conversely, 100% certainty is like putting wings on your heels. It gives strength to your stride and pep to your pace.
7. Maybe you can. Maybe you can’t. You won’t know until your foot steps over the starting line.
8. As proud as I am of getting it, I know that medals gather dust. But the memories of what I just accomplished are planted seeds that will grow. My kids saw me finish, my parents saw me finish, my in-laws saw me finish, my husband saw me finish, I saw myself finish. Only God knows all that will spring up from there.