Crossing the Finish Line, Even When It Doesn’t Make Sense
Updated: Apr 6, 2019
Life doesn’t always go as planned. But it’s how we handle the unexpected that defines who we are.
For the majority of my life, I’ve hated to run, not understanding how people could stand to pound the pavement for a few minutes, much less for hours in a marathon.
My best friend shared my opinion on the topic until one night, on a whim, we committed to doing something together that we didn’t love. In our case, it was training to run the OKC National Memorial half marathon. We researched training schedules, pulled out the dusty running shoes from our closets and began running together.
It started out slowly at first…a mile at a time, until eventually we were running more than we ever dreamt possible for either of us.
To my utter surprise, I fell head over heels in love with the sport. I trained so hard that I lost a toenail in the process (thankfully it grew back!) and we finished our first marathon side by side, shedding tears of joy to have accomplished something so unexpected together.
I continued to run long after that first marathon, purchasing much better shoes, and embracing the sport with full-on enthusiasm, signing up for more races including my second half marathon. I trained even harder the second time around. I wanted to beat my time, of course!
Two weeks before the marathon though, I began to notice significant pain in my IT band whenever I ran. I researched stretches and other natural remedies to this seemingly concerning problem, feeling confident I could still see my goal come to fruition.
The morning of the race, I had my game face on. One mile into my 13.1 miles, my game face had shifted to one of sheer panic. Pain was ripping through my knee with every stride.
I was devastated.
I stopped to stretch every few hundred yards and then jumped back up until the pain seized up again. After mile five, my running partner urged me to simply call my husband and have him pick me up. “There’s no sense in finishing if you’re in this much pain,” she said.
There was all the sense in the world to finish, in my eyes.
I had made this commitment to myself, done the training and I refused to quit, no matter how long it took to complete. And that’s exactly what I did. My physical body may have been in pain but my mental strength was much tougher.
Enduring pain for a short time was far more palatable than giving up on myself.
Sometimes life doesn’t go as we had planned, despite our best efforts to be trained and ready. But it’s how we push through in times of stress that ultimately determines who we really are.
And more often than not, we’re much stronger than we’ll ever know.