Tomorrow morning while you're rolling out of bed, leisurely stretching stiff muscles and thinking about what you hope to accomplish throughout the day, I want your minds to go to my friends Alison and Maria. While we're enjoying the beautiful weather of this lovely Indian summer and participating in a day of rest as God intended, they'll be accomplishing a goal that many are afraid to ever attempt.
They will be running in their first marathon.
I can not begin to tell you how insanely proud of them I am for going after this daunting task. I wish I could be there to show my support, to cheer my ever loving head off as they pass by on their way to the finish line. They have logged hours and hours of training, pounded the pavement for an insane number of miles, braved inclement weather and made sacrifices all in an attempt to prepare their bodies for this demanding event.
Maria is running to raise aware for suicide prevention and running with the names of four who have gone before us and two more who continue to wage a difficult battle with depression on her back. One of those listed on her shirt is my childhood friend who passed away two years ago. Becky was a sprinter herself all through junior high and high school, and knowing she'll be running on Maria's back tomorrow afternoon means a lot to many who knew and loved Becky. I know those angel wings will help carrying her forward when the going gets tough. If you would like to support Maria's efforts with a donation to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention you can visit her page here.
Alison is one of my oldest friends and the person directly responsible for getting me off my lazy butt and back on the road. I would have never run the half-marathon last year without her gentle prodding and immense support. She always believed in me and in turn made me believe in myself, and when I look back on that accomplishment it's her I have to thank for making that dream a reality. She's not running for a specific cause, but I know her and can tell you that with every step she'll be running for her two boys, her daughter, and her husband more than anything else. Training for a marathon requires serious time commitment and how she found the drive to stick to her training program while simultaneously tending to the demands associated with being a wife and mother - making it look easy, nonetheless - is beyond inspiring.
Please join me in cheering them on tomorrow. They probably won't see this post before their race, but leave them an encouraging message and words of support.
Alison and Maria, tomorrow's race is yours to own. You have put in the training, now just run your race. You've already run twenty miles as part of your training . . . what's six (point two) more? Make friends with those running around you - they will help get you through those tough moments. Only let positive thoughts enter your head; there's no room for negativity when you are in the midst of glory. Pain is temporary, pride is forever, and toenails grow back eventually. And when things get really bleak find comfort in the fact that you have many people out there who believe in you. You are warriors and my own personal heroes.
Go get it, girls!