Where do you get the strength to run a marathon?
Itís a question I have been asked repeatedly over the years. More often than not itís asked within the context of running 26.2 miles and the physical toll that it takes on your body. While people tend to want to know how you deal with the pain and physical discomfort, I believe they also just want to how you are able to stick with it.
In short, when you look below the surface, the question I really think people are asking is ďwhat keeps you going?Ē
If there is one thing that running a marathon has taught me, itís that strength is not one dimensional. In fact Iíve learned that strength comes from many areas, and is the sum of many parts. Itís the ability to find and then draw upon different sources of strength that enables me to get me through all of my training and what I also know will ultimately get me across the finish line on race day.
For me, it all starts from within. In short, you must believe in yourself and your own strength if you are going to succeed. This comes from training and a commitment to being as prepared as possible for race day. Therefore, as I line-up at the starting line and wait for the gun to go off, while I will always have race-day jitters, what I am not doing is questioning whether or not I have prepared enough. My training has not only provided me with the physical strength to take on a 26.2 mile race, but it has also ensured that I am mentally prepared as well.
I also find strength from those who I am closest to; my family and friends. Throughout the process of training for a marathon they have been by my side every step of the way. Not literally, but they are always in my heart. These are the people who will always believe in me, even when I may doubt myself. Their support and assurance is unwavering. They are my rock.
I find strength in my fellow runners. Iím fortunate to live in Boston and to be able to train on the course. Weekend runs in the Newton Hills have been amazing. While we may not all know each other, we are united by a common bond. Sharing the road and knowing that Iím not going through this experience alone is a tremendous source of strength. Beyond this, come race day these are the folks that will truly push me to do my best. As much as I can push myself, I thrive off the strength and energy of those that surround me, which is evidenced by the fact that my pace on race-day is typically faster than the pace at which I train.
Finally, as I look ahead to race-day, I know I will find strength in the power of the community that will be surrounding me. As I run from Hopkinton to Boston, the streets will be lined with people who are there to not only cheer me on, but who are there to support me in my journey to the finish. The energy that is provided by the folks who line the course is incredibly powerful and a source of strength unlike no other.
Beyond this, I also find strength in knowing that we are a community that looks out for each other. While I certainly do not know every person who is lining the course, I know that I am not alone. And should I trip and fall, I can be confident that my fellow Bostonians will not only make sure that I get back on my feet, but that ultimately, I make it across the finish line.