Getting back on the horse

A friend of mine ran her first full marathon today. She finished the race, but it didn’t go as well as she had expected. After a good first half, muscle cramps set in and the second half was pretty painful–and slow. I was very proud of her for gutting it out and not giving up–which can be very tempting when we are tired, hurting, and not having much fun. Her time doesn’t matter, just the fact she finished.

What impressed me even more was her immediate plan to run another marathon this spring to try to improve her performance. Too many folks want to throw in the towel after a negative experience with a race: “That was hard. Why would I want to do it again?” These days completing a marathon puts a check in a box on a bucket list for many people who have no intention of running a second one. I’m certainly not passing judgement on them, but I’m happy that my friend is going to learn from her marathon experience and try again. Don’t get me wrong–marathons are hard, but that’s what makes finishing so rewarding. Our modern world is rife with technologies and products meant to make life easier (and more unhealthy, unfortunately) Have you ever stopped to consider all of the things we can do while sitting down at home and in our cars? Shop, pay bills, go to the bank, get coffee and food, pick up a prescription, mail a letter, etc. Here in Tucson there’s even a drive thru liquor store. This concept is troubling for many reasons. The good news about exercise is that despite all the gear and gadgets designed to make exercising easier, we still have to actually run (or walk or bike or swim) to get to the finish line. No one (or thing) can do it for us.

There’s a list of cliches, quotes, and proverbs running through my head: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.” “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and so on. Today my friend celebrated a victory by not only persevering through something very difficult, but wanting to try it again.