America and the Idea of Possibility

It’s incredible the difference a year can make.  On this very day one year ago, I almost threw in the towel with running.  I was running a race on an intimidatingly hilly course and in ridiculously warm temperatures.  It didn’t take long for me to become frustrated with myself.  But I decided to keep at it.  With every doubt in my mind, I managed to finish that race and embark on a new adventure in my life.  That adventure got me to the starting line of the Boston Marathon, and better yet, to the finish line, and transformed my hobby of running into a lifestyle.

This morning my dad and I laced up our sneakers and headed for the starting line of the Fourth of July road race in a neighboring town.  One year later, I faced the same course and immediately saw the transformation I have made throughout this whirlwind of a year.  I took on the hills with gusto and beat my goal by about a minute (!!!).

A few miles into the race, I overheard someone say to another runner, “This is the best sport because no matter who you are, you can always improve.  You’re only trying to beat yourself.”  And that, my friends, is the truth.  No matter your age, your gender, your beliefs or abilities,  you can always improve.  Your toughest competition is yourself, and you can choose to either stay defeated, or rise up to the challenge of improving upon what you’ve already done.  From where I stand right now, I recommend that everyone accepts the challenge because you’ll find that you are capable of so much more than could ever imagine.  With an impeccable amount of courage, hard work, and perseverance, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

I could have thrown in the towel on July 4, 2013, but I didn’t.  I recognized that I am my only competition, and I accepted the challenge to improve.  It was not easy, but it was worth it, and I am certainly not done.

Thank You Notes:

  • Thank you to my dad for running with me today (although not at the same pace).  I am so proud of you and your 10k personal best.  You earned it!
  • Thank you to America for being such a great place to live.  Although you may have your flaws, as everything does, you never fail to foster the idea of possibility, and that is a very powerful thing.  Happy Birthday!
  • Thank you to the two runners who shared the above conversation with each other.  It made me smile and remember why I love running.

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