13.1 LIFE LESSONS
Context: Before the run, we trained, we bought the right shoes and apparel, and we even had our nails done.
Life Application: Most things in life require a little forethought and energy. Do the work if you want the pay off.
Context: Running 13.1 miles can be very hard work, but we have a blast doing it.
Life Application: Work doesn’t have to be drudgery. You can have fun if you put your mind to it.
Context: The first time we passed the Lincoln Memorial we paid attention, but I didn’t notice the Lincoln Memorial on the way back because I was focused on getting a picture with the mile marker.
Life Application: Pick your head up so you can see the world around you. Don’t allow the small things in life to prevent you from seeing the bigger picture.
Context: My friend might be the most positive person in the world. She had cheerful and positive commentary the entire race. I think some people around us wanted to punch her, but we had a blast seeing all the good in the rainy, long run.
Life Application: A positive attitude can help you to see the silver linings.
Context: The two half marathons I ran alone were significantly harder for me than the two I ran with friends and family.
Life Application: Although we can do hard tasks or go through difficult situations alone, the support of others make them much easier.
Context: There were around fifteen thousand participants in the half marathon. Each one of us had the financial means, the physical ability, the freedom, and the time to participate. We each had so much to be grateful for.
Life Applications: There is so much to be thankful for in life. You have more than you may realize.
Context: The sign in the picture was at the top of a lengthy hill between miles 6 and 7. We were tired by they time we hit that sign, really tired. Our bodies would have been happy to stop there. However, a little distance later, we realized our bodies could keep going. In fact, our bodies were able to go the same distance again.
Life Application: Life can be tiring and hard. We can face some things that make us feel like we should just quit. However, if we just keep going, we realize we are capable of more.
Context/Life Application: If you take yourself too seriously, you will miss out on some of the joy around you.
Context: Three weeks before this run, my plantar fasciitis became almost unbearable. I decided then that I needed to stop training until the run. I knew my body was both capable of the distance and in need of a break. In the past I would have foolishly kept training. After the race, my body felt better than it ever has after a big distance run.
Life Application: It is important to know your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t be afraid to attempt difficult tasks, but be aware of your limitations as well. Give yourself permission to rest when you need it.
Context: My cousin had never run more than 10 miles. She stood behind the mile marker, and we celebrated the fact that she had officially run farther than she ever had before. She still had 3.1 miles to go, but we took the time to celebrate the victory on the way to the final goal.
Life Application: Celebrate your accomplishments even if you have larger tasks ahead. It will give you confidence and joy as you go.
Context: By mile eleven, legs are tired and people’s joints are aching. Focusing on the pain can make the run miserable. It can even cause some people to give up.
Life Application: I’m not saying we should pretend the pains of life are not present. We simply have a choice as to whether or not we let our focus remain on the pain rather than how to get through it.
Context: The best way to take your focus off the pain is to focus on the goal. While running, I had to decide to think about how close I was to the finish line rather than the ache in my feet. Focusing on the goal helped me to remember why pushing through the pain would be worth it. I also knew I would get a chance to pamper my aching feet after the medal was hanging around my neck.
Life Application: There is a time and a place to deal with the aches and pains. Focusing on your goals helps you remember why some pains are worth it. In order to achieve great things, you have to push through some discomfort.
Context: No matter the distance or the pace of the run, I always push harder at the finish. I can’t understand walking across the line. There is something about giving it everything you have to the very end.
Life Application: If you are going to do something, do it well. Don’t finish a task with regret. Cross the line knowing you gave everything you could.
Context: Normally, I run to see how I can do. I try to beat my own goals. This race was different. I ran with my cousin to help her reach her goals. Her goals were to 1) not die, 2) finish, 3) finish in under 2 hours and 45 minutes, and 4) possibly finish under 2 hours and 30 minutes. The first three were simple without me, but my support aided her in reaching that final goal.
Life Application: Life is better when you live for more than yourself. Sometimes others are there for you, and sometimes you are there for others. Life is meant to be lived in community, and you can’t participate fully in community if everything has to be about you.
Whether you are going 13.1 miles or surviving a marathon of daily tasks, look for the lessons you can learn along the way.