Shawn, Marathoner | In-Between the Pages

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The Finisher (Image: Shawn Ward)
Hot June, perfect weather. I couldn’t have asked for a better time to for a lesson. 26.2 miles of lessons to be exact. I completed this run on June 24th, 2017 this year. The first I’ve run and won’t be my last. It took me over 4 years to train. The first half of 2017 being the most rigid training up to the race that I’ve ever been through.
 
When done I completed the distance in a little over 4 hours. The physical part was great, but what it taught me getting ready for it and after will be with me forever. That’s what I would like to share. Because wether you can run a marathon or not is not the lesson here. That would be horrible lesson to teach. It’s these four things that it taught that you can apply to any figurative marathon you want. Let’s face it, sometimes getting up every morning to face the day is a marathon.
 
An olympic athlete Apolo Ohno said this:
 
It’s about having an active lifestyle, staying healthy, and making the right decisions. Life is about balance. Not everybody wants to run a marathon, but we could all start being more active.
 
And, Angela Duckworth said this:
 
Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
 
You don’t have to do a marathon to get the incite I will share with you from my own journey. Whatever tremendous challenge before you, these learns will help you overcome.
 
Here’s what this whole journey taught me:
  • You can do more than you think
  • It is a long game, both in prep and in real time
  • A goal bigger than you, one that challenges you, will leave you changed forever
  • You can inspire human kind with your journey to be greater than they are
 
I read your body tries to fake you out when you’ve pushed it beyond your normal. You will try and protect you leading you to think you need to stop pushing yourself so hard. The article states that when you think you cannot go a step further, you still have 40% reserves left. In other words, when you think your done, you’re not and still can go much further. I never thought I could do 26.2 miles, but I did it and finished on June 24th. I accomplished what only .50% of the US population has achieved. That’s amazing! You can do that. You can do more than you think you can. This concept can applied to any goal and swing for the fences effort is inside of you waiting to come out. Get out there and try.
 
My training as long as it took for me to decide and then another whole year to get ready for, was a long game. There is no short cuts to an audacious goal you set for yourself. It takes planning, building a rhythm, and perseverance to keep yourself in the game. I didn’t get off the couch one day and run 26.2 miles the next month. I had to plan it out over a long span of time. I had to get my mind wrapped around the work ahead by putting a visual with it. Then I chunked it out over several months with a milestone to hit each month. I put it on the calendar and removed other things that I liked to do to make the goal the priority. I reflected on training runs and wrote down what it made me feel like so I could learn for the next run what not to do. I used tools like running apps and my watch to find out my best output and real limitations my body could take. I played a long game and took my time to learn along the way to race day.
 
I remember the huge smile that came across my face as I hit the finish line and my wife caught me from falling over. I broke down and cried. I knew this race, all my work and sacrifice, the impact it made on me would be with me forever. Doing something so challenging changed me forever by giving me incredible confidence. When I come up against something that makes me want to tap out, I remind myself of an important fact. I ran 26.2 miles! That’s the equal of the next town over (22 miles from door to that next town) that I usually have to take a car to get to. I’ve now reset my negative thinking to, “I got this!” I am back in the game. Anything that takes you past a new possibility, gives you ammunition to push for more.
 
You can leave huge ripples with your work that can inspire people to do the best work of their own lives. Never take that for granted. Rob Liano wrote:
 
If all the world’s a stage, I suggest you start performing at your best.
 
It sounds creepy. Speaking from a social perspective, someone is always looking for inspiration in others. We are so public and so out there due to technological advancements as a society. People can learn from work in real time. Doing something so huge for yourself will have a ripple affect beyond your inner circle. You get to have a chance to leave the world a better place and do the best work of your life. That’s a big weight to have on top of the challenge. Keep perspective, someone is learning from your work. Allow your struggle be someone’s inspiration.
 
If you want to learn more about the deeper, physical side if my story I’d love to share it. I’ll end with this:
 
If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon. – Emil Zatopek
 
Thanks for hanging out with me at the start of what I hope for you, will be a great weekend.
 
Shawn

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