For 20 years I chased a dream that I never thought would become a reality. My sophomore year in college, after repeated knee, hamstring and back injuries, my running career came to an abrupt halt. I can remember the moment vividly as I was sitting on a table while the athletic trainer told me, “If you don’t quit running you won’t be able to walk when your 38.”
I’m 38 years old and yesterday I completed the Chicago Marathon. I ran all 26.2 miles. Slow yes, but I finished!
God aligned the right doctor and massage therapist to come into my life at the time my mom decided she wanted to run a marathon. I knew if I was ever going to accomplish this goal, I had to do it now. I would have the motivation of knowing that my mom (58) would be doing it with me and I couldn’t let her down. I’d also have an accountability and training partner.
The training was difficult, but if you have ever run a day in your life, you know that running is 10% physical and 90% mental. I knew if I was going to run all 26.2 miles, my run couldn’t be about me. It had to be about others. It had to be about people that inspired me, people that have made incredible sacrifices and people that have lost their life too early and would give anything to be running.
Over the past several months I have been jotting names down… thinking about 26 people that would motivate me mile, by mile, not to quit.
Sitting in bed in the hotel room, prepping for the race I wrote all 26 names on neon labels. The morning of the race I stuck the lables on my arm.
I had one name for each mile. After I completed a mile I’d peel the label off, give it a kiss and toss it over my shoulder. Each mile I prayed for these people and their families. I thought about their journey, how our paths had crossed and how they had inspired me. Before I knew it, I was peeling and kissing another label.
When we focus on others, our big dreams become easier. There is no doubt in my mind that I finished my marathon because of these 26 people.
Mile 1: Trey Stauffer- A nine-year-old living with juvenile diabetes. The daily things this kid has to go through amazes me. He participates in fundraising activities for awareness and research and even has his face on a billboard.
Mile 2: Jaymason Curry- He is the 14 yr old son of a friend of mine from high school. This past year he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and recently completed six months of treatment. His dad would post updates on Jaymason and he always had a smile on his face. He never stopped living life, attended various sporting events and took each day in stride. I’m certain his positive attitude played a big role in successful treatment.
Mile 3: Lauren Spierer- On June 3, 2011, Lauren went missing and has yet to be found. I was reminded of her bright blue eyes and prayed during this mile for her parents, Rob and Charlene, her friends and that those that know what happened to come forward. For more information on Lauren, check out this website.
Mile 4: Mary Margaret Moorehead: Mary recently turned 88 and has been a grandmother figure to me most of my life. She is smart, witty, honest, hard working and has the best laugh. Just thinking about her during mile four made me smile.
These are the people that got me through mile 1-4. Check out who got me through #4-#8.
If you have a dream you have chased for 20 years and you want help accomplishing it, contact me for a complimentary coaching session. I’d loved see you crossing your own finish line in 2017!
Dream. Discover. Do™
About the Author:
Stephanie helps people discover their gifts and boldly pursue their dreams. Her coaching, speaking, and resources create healthy mindset shifts, and helps people accomplish more than they thought possible, in less time than they imagined. Based on Stephanie’s successful career as a top-rated manager in a Fortune 100 company, her workshops help leaders and organizations navigate change, create can-do teams, avoid burnout, and grow their brand through giving. She is a fearless changemaker, in my own life, and in those she serves – challenging others to give daily.
You can contact Stephanie by email at stephanie@GivingGal.com.