It’s Not About the Marathon – Achieving Big, Scary Dreams
I completed my first marathon this past weekend. It was a huge accomplishment I am proud of, but it really wasn’t about the marathon. I ran to prove that we can all achieve big scary dreams. I ran to give others hope.
Maybe you saw the back of my shirt.
What are two huge things stopping most people from chasing their dreams and living to their potential?
Daring to dream, and then taking that very first step.
Nineteen weeks ago I would have told you I would never run a marathon. Zero interest. My average run for all of last year was two miles, and my max distance was just over four miles. By Rich Rein’s standards, I’m not sure that I am a runner.
But I am a huge believer in dreams.
Eighteen weeks ago I gave a presentation at work on why we all need big scary dreams to get us out of bed in the morning. I argued that we can achieve any dream. My own presentation made me realize I wasn’t dreaming big enough. I decided a marathon was a scary dream I doubted I could do.
I started telling people I was running a marathon.
The universe responded by having the Team Ortho Minneapolis Marathon start exactly eighteen weeks later. Thanks, universe.
How do you Run a Marathon?
One step at a time. Simple, but not necessarily easy. You need a plan (thanks Hal Higdon), you reach out to experts (thanks TC Running), and then you focus on that next step in front of you. You learn that not all steps go as planned but that’s ok. You enjoy the journey and stay open to changing and improving your plan while always focusing on just taking the next step.
Team Ortho did a great job planning a beautiful course at a great time of the year for the Minneapolis Marathon. Sure it had some fun hills, but those aren’t much different from any of your other steps along the way.
Your attitude and spirit can flatten any hill.
Which Step is the Most Important?
The first one.
Most people don’t dare to take that first step. They have too many doubts or excuses for why they shouldn’t take that first step. They focus too much on what could go wrong. Give yourself permission to dream (and dream big) and then trust that first step. And then take the next one. Don’t believe those voices in your head telling you to quit. This is your dream and it can’t be stopped.
How do you know when you’ve got a great dream?
When your energy is so contagious that other people are constantly asking about your dream or offering advice or support. I had people checking in on me nearly every day – wow, does that keep you engaged and motivated.
Interaction with others is key to staying focused and keeping the energy alive. Implied or explicit accountability makes all the difference in achieving dreams. Stay focused and true to your values and believe in your dream every day. It’s ok to be vulnerable and share your doubts and fears – this build bonds, and one bad run does not dictate how your marathon will go.
So how did my first Marathon Go?
My goal was to have fun and finish my first marathon. I high-5’d kids. I stopped to say hello or take selfies with people I knew. I gave thumbs up to people cheering or with awesome signs. I took time to stomp on discarded water cups in the road (I can never resist stomping cups).
Before the race, I let people submit one song each that I promised I’d shuffle in my Spotify running list for the marathon – this was fun for all of us. I never forgot that having fun was an important part of my journey.
I also ran to fight stigma – I lost my sister to suicide three years ago and I want the uncomfortableness of writing and reading this sentence to disappear.
There were other benefits, I strengthened friendships, I had lots of time to think, I lost some weight, and I saw more of my city and the outdoors.
I really enjoyed this course put on by Team Ortho. Very scenic. The volunteers were fantastic. This was the perfect time of year to train and then run a marathon if you want to avoid the heat. The weather couldn’t have been in better. I treasured the journey and shared it with others.
We can do Anything that we set our Mind to Achieving
Make a long list of dreams or goals, pick your top few, share them with others, then start taking steps (unless Hal Higdon says to rest of course)! But most importantly, cherish today. You can apply this to anything in life. Have fun. Trust and enjoy the journey. Who knows where you’ll be eighteen weeks from now.