Last year, I went after something big.
I put in the work. The sweat. The focus.
And… it didn’t happen.
It started when I decided to drop my name in the NYC Marathon lottery to run it for a second time.
Lo and behold, my name got picked to run the thing again. It would be my sixth marathon. This time, I decided to not just go for a finish, but to race and go for a finish time.
Waiting for the race to start, having no idea what's ahead.
Everything was going according to plan, until one of my last training runs when I stepped on a tree root wrong. You know when your ankle can do that funny thing where it almost folds in half? And I’m like… huh, that didn’t seem good, but we’re okay. So I kept running and finished that 20-miler.
The next day or so, it was swollen.
Two weeks later, it was race day and my ankle still wasn’t quite right.
There I was on the starting line. A full marathon in front of me. Would it be fine? Would it be hell? Would I crush the race?
I didn’t know!
About a mile into the marathon my ankle started to hurt.
At first I thought, “Fuck! I can’t believe this is happening!”
I wanted to cry and grab a spectator and tell them my whole training journey and how I’d done it all “right,” but my ankle got messed up, and it felt so unfair!
Then, I DECIDED to redefine what the marathon was about for me. It wasn’t about my physical conditioning, the training, or the 4-hour finish time. That goal was gone. It was all about MINDSET
The miles ahead held the potential to strengthen my self-talk and make me a better mental athlete.
Mile after mile after mile I TALKED TO MYSELF.
I said things like, “You’re a fucking badass and you can do this.”
I also focused on everything good and loved the hell out of myself and the experience.
I was like one part Goggins and one part Tara Brach.
Some miles sucked.
Some miles were amazing and I held back tears of gratitude.
Other miles I sunk back into sadness and held back tears for what wasn’t to be.
I ran, I walked, I floated, I danced, and I fought my way to that finish line.
About 50 minutes after my goal time, but proud. Maybe more proud than if everything had gone the way I WANTED it to go.
What haven’t you gone after because of fear of it not working out?
Legs up the wall in Central Park.
So many of us don’t go after something because we’re afraid of failing or sucking or saying that we did our best and it didn’t work out.
It may not work out the way you want it to.
It clearly didn’t work the way I’d planned!
But, something else DID.
The confidence and mental strength I gained from that experience is present today when I enter other situations in life not going the way I’d planned or wanted. And this, to me, is living with more ease.
Go after what you want, even if it doesn’t work out.
You never know what strength, confidence, and ease may come from going through something “not working out” and DECIDING that you will find what is meant for you.
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