I have joined an elite club of Marathoners on Sunday, January 19, 2014 at the age of 50, covering official distance of 42.195 kilometers (26 miles and 385 yards) in a road race at PF Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon. Prior to this first full marathon attempt, my best running records were a successful completion of half marathon in 2013 and an unofficial run of 16 miles few weeks prior to the current marathon.
I am sharing this story with just one objective. If I can do it, anyone else can do it. I am not particularly athletic. In fact, I was impacted by arthritis several years ago and had even difficulty in walking. I was under medication for several years. One fine day I threw my medicine chest out and developed some discipline and mental toughness over a period of time to achieve this goal.
Life lessons of marathon: Unlike a sprint track which is often straight, a marathoner’s track may typically have twist and turns. As a consequence, the runner has to make constant adjustments for speed depending on the terrain, decide on when to take a break, when to sip that water, and when to catch his breath. If we draw parallels, life is like a long distance runner with constant course correction; it’s all about strategy and persistence. Unlike a sprinter, in a marathon, you are not competing with someone; you are competing with yourself. Someone overtaking does not bother you. You run your race with patience, confidence in the game-plan, and steadiness of your pace, knowing and trusting your stamina, ability and timing, sure that you will catch up sooner or later with those who went on ahead.
Back to my story: Today, for me, running is a spiritual experience. When I run I transcend space and time. To me life is a marathon, not a sprint. For the many projects that I have undertaken in my workplace, spiritual organizations and in my family, I learned that what finally matters is the inner strength to finish the task at hand. Continued persistence that matters; to be able to draw deep and pull something out of yourself is one of the most tremendous things that you learn out of your marathon experience.
Honestly, I was very ill prepared for the run; a week before I was down with flu and was bed ridden. I could barely move. My situation was not good even a day before my run. It was a battle between mind and body and my mind prevailed over my body.
My wife knew that I would do it, irrespective of whatever odds I may face. My daughter knew why I wanted to do it. And, outwardly the most courageous man, my son, was really scared of my health and well being and pleaded me not to go for it. I promised him that I won’t do any harm for myself. He is happy and relieved now.
Finally, I dedicate my first marathon run for my beloved daughter to fulfill her dreams!