If you want to run a marathon you can. All you need to do is run... a lot. In reality, if you want to accomplish anything in life, all you have to do is decide and then try...a lot. This morning, my father handed me a newsletter from the company he works for, written by one of the "big-wigs," Dennis Parks.
A Success is one who decides to succeed...and WORKS.
A Failure is one who decides to succeed...and WISHES.
A Decided Failure is one who failed to Decide and failed to Work.
Not everyone wants to run a marathon or become a doctor. You may want to master knitting, become proficient at scrapbooking, golfing, skiing, or teaching. You may want to serve a neighbor, learn to play the guitar, get that raise!
But first you must decide and then you MUST WORK!
My first marathon took place 9 years ago, only 9 months after my fourth son was born. My goal at the time was to follow the workouts outlined by my brother. My hope was to simply to lose "the baby weight" and finish.
But after following the plan religiously, I began to get faster and more fit. My brother was thrilled and began to send me more challenging workouts. Before I knew it, the goal to lose weight was met and a new goal was set...to not simply finish the race but to finish under four hours.
After months of training, I completed my first marathon. Not only was I back to my pre-baby weight, I finished with a thrilling time of 3:53.
Not long after that race, I decided to train for another marathon. This time, I set a new goal. I wanted to qualify for the Boston marathon. This training plan required more work. I had to run more often and add speed workouts. After months of pounding the pavement, I accomplished by goal and ran a 3:42, qualifying for the Boston Marathon by 3 minutes.
With my fourth marathon, a new goal was set, to run a 3:30. An entirely new training plan was needed and I committed to even more miles per week, tempo runs, and speed workouts. After 18 weeks of serious work (and not one mile missed), I ran a 3:30:40 (which in my book counts).
Other marathons were run the next few years. Most, simply for fun, brought me closer to friends as we trained together, ran the races together and traveled to various places sharing the joy of our accomplishments.
This year has been difficult in many ways. I decided in the late spring to set a new marathon goal, with the hope of finding an outlet and a focus for myself. I decided I wanted to run a sub 3:30 marathon. This meant I would need to run my marathon under a 8 minute mile pace. I knew once I set the goal, I would be setting myself up for miles upon miles of running in the heat and humidity of Virginia. I knew I would be required to not only run a ton of miles but I would need to run a ton of them fast.
I made my decision to succeed and then came the work.
Just shy of 900 miles, many of which were run alone, with intense heat that couldn't be avoided, humidity that enveloped me with every step, I stood confident at the start of the St. George Marathon on this past Saturday.
I stood at the start of my race in the early darkness of the morning with the knowledge I would succeed. I had worked (run) and worked (run even more) countless hours to reach my ultimate goal. I knew I had the strength, both in body and mind to run a steady pace that would carry me to the finish I had so desired and worked for through the summer.
The announcer counted down, the starting gun went off and thousands of runners began their individual journey 26.2 miles away...a finish that held different meanings for each person. And it wasn't just wishing to run fast that made me fast that day, it was the just working to run fast I did each and every day for 16 weeks that made my race a success.
Working for success rather than wishing for it...I did just that, and because of my work, ran even faster than I could have imagined, 3:25:27, taking 5 minutes off my fastest time!