The phoenix

“It’s not all about what you do in the race tomorrow. It’s about what you’ve done to get here.” - Ryan Hall’s comments before the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon, as reported by Bart Yasso.

Last year, I walked away disappointed with my performance in the Fargo Marathon. Despite a personal best by 3 minutes, I felt I hadn’t lived up to my hopes. The race, dedicated to my mom, was the best I could muster that day, but it didn’t seem good enough. Banged up, mentally and physically, I set my sights on the next marathon.

Six weeks later, overcoming the heat at Grandma’s Marathon, I crossed the finish line with a completely different attitude. It was hot on the course, and a lot of people suffered. But I ran my race – and despite a time 3 minutes slower than Fargo – relearned a valuable lesson: Every race brings it’s own set of challenges, but if you do your best on that day, then you’ve won.

In the weeks that followed, I hit the pavement and trails, enduring the heat, focused on being a better runner. Often, I envisioned myself as a phoenix – a mythical bird rising from the ashes – and hoped for redemption at the Twin Cities Marathon. Things didn’t seem right and each long run in my ramp up to Twin Cities seemed to get worse. The paces became slower and slower. The day before the race, I told a buddy I didn’t know if I could even finish it and may end up dropping out for the first time ever.

The next morning, I went out and ran the best race of my life. And the best part was I knew it while I was in the moment, which just helped me surge as the finish line neared. Now I wear a necklace with a pendant of the phoenix – representing an “indestructible spirit.”

To all the runners at the Fargo Marathon this weekend, I hope each of you remembers the indestructible spirit inside. It has carried you many miles, and for some, it has pulled you through some physically, mentally and emotionally challenging times. It is your time to shine.

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