As the LA Marathon continues to carry on, I am reminded - so does life. In 2011, I ran the LA Marathon as a bucket list item (no finish time in mind) and I swore I would never do it again. I endured physical sensations and feelings that I would never like to experience again. Overwhelming emotions of feat and defeat flooded me throughout the 26.2 miles. And, thoughts...thoughts that filled my being with love and hatred for what I committed myself to completing. That year, no training in Los Angeles could have prepared me for the conditions I faced- record breaking rain, 30 mph winds and a temperature roughly in the mid 40's.
Fast forward to 2012. I learned my dear friend, Amanda, was diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 31. Instantly, I wanted to help/ do anything I could to make this experience anything but the horrific experience she was about to face. I knew my wish was pretty far fetched but the intention was pure. I thought about what I could do to actually help and not get in the way. Fundraise for medical bills is what came to mind. So, I set forth with my idea and thought, oh hell, time to do it again - run the LA Marathon. Oh boy. I committed, yet again, to what I swore I'd never do again. Side note- don't ever say never. Through this process I wanted to push myself in a way that I had never done before. I knew at that point there was nothing I could do to truly put myself in Amanda's shoes but I wanted to empathize the best I could. I saw how hard she fought and stood face to face with cancer so why couldn't I endure a handful of hours of multiple levels of discomfort?
For the second go around I set a goal for myself with a finish time and that was in between 4:30:00 and 4:45:00. I finished the marathon at 4:43:00. I shaved off an hour and 19 minutes from my first marathon one year prior. The words inspiration, motivation, commitment, consistency, effort, support, faith, determination, perseverance and love were some of the many words that rang true to me that day.
I learned that when we choose to set our mind to follow a pure intention we are more than capable seeing it through. A challenge is just that - a challenge. It is not an automatic defeat just because sometimes we fall so low and hard that it may feel like we are done. Support from loved ones does wonders. I encourage you to surround yourself with those that lift you up and release those that hold you back...even if they are your comfort. You will find a new comfort level with every step forward. Tripping over your feet is a moment to dust yourself off and keep going, not to give up. I find that keeping a realistic goal in mind and focusing on the action needed to attain the goal actually feels attainable and empowering.
I am still in shock some days and very much saddened that Amanda was taken from us way too soon. Although Amanda is not with us physically, her selfless, loving spirit lives on and continues to inspire me and the lives of so many she deeply touched.