Journey is Over, Now On To Next Challenge

On New Year’s eve,  how could I not be thinking about resolutions.  I’m sure you are as well.  My goal for 2011 is to be a runner.  Well, maybe I am a runner.  As John Bingham says:

“If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.”

Somehow I became a runner this year, and my first race ever was a marathon.  I wrote about my experience training for the Chicago Marathon It’s All About the Journey.


This was a big accomplishment for me.  I was never a runner and never imagined that a marathon was in my future.  But I did it.   And as Bingham says, it’s all about starting.

“The miracle isn’t that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

You know, it did take some courage to start.  And I have to admit, the race was a challenge.  It seemed like it took all day.  Oh yeah, it DID take me all day [7 hours].  But I finished, and that’s all I really wanted to accomplish.  Even though I saw the official time keeper in the car below pass me about half way through the marathon, and the cheering section had all gone home by the time I crossed the finish line.  That was ok.

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I really didn’t care about my time.  I stopped at mile 18 to hug my kids, who were waiting for me with handmade signs. At around  mile 22 I stopped to get my knee wrapped.  But I REALLY wanted to stop for dim sum when I ran through Chinatown.  I resisted that.

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I was slow, so I soaked it all in.  I took pictures along the way, including this shot of two runners who were doing their best to keep going and support each other.  To me, that’s what the marathon is all about.

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I knew I was going to finish.  I didn’t care how long it took me.  There were a lot of songs on my i-pod that kept me going throughout my training and during the race.  One song that was particularly inspiring was Unstoppable by Rascal Flatts.

When the cold hard rain just won’t quit.  And you can’t see your way out of it.  You find your faith has been lost and shaken.  You take back what’s been taken. Get on your knees and dig down deep.  You can do what you think is impossible.  Keep on believing, don’t give in.  It’ll come and make you whole again.

Loved that song.  Doing what you think is impossible.

Now that it’s over, it’s really changed my perspective on a lot of things.  It may sound corny to hear people talk about a marathon as a life-changing event or view it as a metaphor for life.  But honestly, I think there’s something to that.  Bingham says:

“At the heart of the matter, the real changes are in how you think about yourself. By discovering your limitations and then overcoming them, you can learn to be your own hero. And that, for most of us, is the biggest change of all.”

Being your own hero, I like that.  More from Bingham…

“Through running, I create myself as I have always wanted to be. Nothing in my experience was as powerful as crossing the finish line of my first race. With that single step, I overcame a lifetime of unkept promises to myself.”

I’m ready for 2011 and the new challenges that it will bring.  It’s really empowering to do something that scares you.  I highly recommend it.

Wishing you something scary in the coming year.

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10 Comments

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  • Wow, congrats Janet. What an amazing accomplishment. You must be so proud of yourself. I hope to participate in a marathon one day. Happy New Year.

  • Congratulations, Janet! Going outside of your comfort zone is indeed the best time for growth and self discovery. Looking forward to that myself in 2011.

    P.S. I’d say you’re already a runner if you’re a Chicago marathon finisher. 🙂

  • Wonderful and inspiring blog post. Thanks for sharing! It’s a great read to kick off the New Year of unlimited possibilities.

  • Janet,

    That’s fantastic! Congrats. A whole marathon is pretty impressive.That kind of perseverance is very admirable. I wish I could run, but I had to turn in another direction, as running makes me want to step in front of a fast moving bus, even with a well stocked iPOD. Kind of funny, because track was my sport in high school.

    I tried tennis, which I found that I love. The only problem is that ti rains quite a bit here in the winter, and indoor courts are few, far between, and expensive. At least you can run in the rain.

    For others that want to get in some cardio, but can’t bring themselves to stay with running, there are plenty of fun activities out there that will get your heart rate up and keep you distracted from the fact that you’re doing your daily cardio. Find one of them, and dive in wholeheartedly. You;ll thank yourself.

    Great job, and here’s to ore success in 2011!

  • I did a similar thing a few years ago. I used to not be able to run 1 mile without kicking and screaming but I made it a goal one summer to run a half marathon. I trained for months and began to really enjoy running. I started to like it not just because I was losing weight but because it was “me” time, it was relaxing and I looked forward to it everyday. Anyways, I thought a half was an accomplishment but a FULL – geez, u go girl! Very encouraging!

  • Loved this post and I love that you have had time to process Chicago and see the enormity of the accomplishment. Any more races planned? Wish I had seen you in Chicago. I’m thinking Marine Corps this year.

  • Wow. Congratulations! I always salute people who join marathons and run through it until the end. I know how exhausting it is running under the heat of the sun, but I know that the determination will always keep you going. Good job!

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  • Paul

    Looking forward for the new challenge..Great Blog Janet! Keep it up!

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