I’ve had some amazing races and some downright awful races.
Last year I did a marathon that fell decidedly in the latter category. Nothing about it went right. My food intolerances flared. I slept the night before. The inflammation, weakness, and nausea kicked in at mile two. How do you keep going when you know it just isn’t going to be your day?
I prayed, crying out to God for strength. I wasn’t going to get through this on my own.
I set milestones for the race and gave myself encouragement. At eight miles, there wouldn’t be as many hills for a while. At the halfway point, the wind would be at my back.
My husband and kids would appear on the course every mile or so to cheer. That would carry me for a few hundred meters.
At mile 12, I saw someone wearing a sweatshirt from my alma mater. Go Knights!
Earlier in the year, a devastating storm had crashed through the area, taking down trees all along the path. I tried to focus with wonder on the power that could do that. Anything to keep my mind off the pain that burned with every step.
I decided to take walking breaks at mile 14, but my family was there. I couldn’t walk in front of my kids.
At mile 19 that didn’t matter anymore. My husband gave me a hug and I started crying. I wasn’t sure I could go on. The last six miles were full of hills. He dropped the kids off at the bottom of every hill and they pushed me to the top.
Through each stride, I had to find strength somewhere. Each little thing got me a few yards farther down the course.
Sometimes we have big goals, but it’s the little motivations that make them happen.
How do you keep going on tough days?