I was always intrigued with the people who were able to qualify for the Boston Marathon. People from all walks of life, all different ages, each with a “story” about why they made the decision to run this race. I was a major smoker at the time and had been for several years. I felt trapped in a daily grind of work and stress and went home every night to a husband who had become incapacitated by chronic pain. Throughout most of our marriage I focused only on work and searching for a cure for my husband’s chronic pain. As my stress increased, so did my smoking. By the time I was 38, I couldn’t climb a flight of stairs without stopping to catch my breath. After all those years of watching this race, not once had I ever entertained the notion that it was anything I’d ever be capable of doing. But, when it hit me that in just two years I’d be turning 40, I began to realize life as a timed event, and, more importantly, that I was running out of time. I remember so clearly when the idea began to take shape…I was watching television and saw an advertisement for the hundredth running of the Boston marathon – for this race several of the runners would be chosen not by their finishing time in a qualifying race, but by a lottery. I had seven years to prepare. I hadn’t yet gotten to the stage when I felt I might actually qualify because just the thought of trying to get ready to run 26.2 miles seemed near impossible.
It took several months for me to stop smoking and, at first, I could only walk very slowly. I can tell you that this part of my journey involved obstacles, challenges and every trial by fire that life could throw at me. But with each challenge, I learned something about myself, broadening my scope and finding a strength I never thought I had…external circumstances had not created my pain, I had by the thoughts I allowed. For so many years my habitual thoughts of fear and negativity had kept me imprisoned and now I found I always had the power to change those thoughts.
My desire to run that race started below my level of awareness years earlier when I sat watching it on television. Everyone has their own unique desires, and believe me when I tell you if you have a desire that has been with you for years it is because that desire is attainable for you. Too many people believe they can’t and never even try. It was exhilarating to feel myself changing, moving forward towards a goal I had never dreamed was possible. It added an exciting new dimension to every step I made toward realizing that goal.
The moment I will never forget, when the adventure of my life really started, it was when I actually began to believe I could qualify for Boston. By staying the path and not accepting defeat no matter how difficult it became, I had inadvertently developed the mindset for success.