It was there. Maybe not in the waning moments of today’s 18-miler, but exactly when I needed it.
The alarm had not yet sounded it’s annoying tone. But I was ready for this early morning run with a surge of energy. And plenty of motivation.
Arriving just in time to listen to Dick Beardsley address the Faster Stronger Runner training group (a large group of upbeat runners prepping for Fargo Marathon weekend), I knew the famed and celebrated marathoner from Minnesota would pass along a few tips and humor.
Last Monday, Beardsley spoke to a group assembled for Fargo Running Company’s 10th anniversary run before the standing-room only crowd spilled out of the store for a short run.
For those who’ve met Beardsley, he’s one of the most optimistic, upbeat, humble and inspiring people they might ever meet.
As a runner in the 1980s, he became a national treasure — a champion marathoner and celebrated for his Boston battle with Alberto Salazer, a race cherished still cherished 35 years later for its dramatic conclusion.
But today, Beardsley’s words took on a different tone, sharing 2 personal and heartfelt stories — he choked up twice while recounting his memories of the 1982 Boston Marathon, the first time 2 Americans ran under 2 hours, 9 minutes in the same race.
I’ve been lucky to listen to Beardsley speak at a couple of marathon expos, share a few conversations with him and request he sign a book about that epic race. The stories today, though, were special and inspiring for the runners — training for their half and full marathons in 6 weeks — heading out for their weekly long runs.
The other day, a friend shared a Facebook post with a simple message: “You’re always one decision away from a totally different life.”
It’s easy to give up — challenges in life or training or race — and excuses can be found. But giving up is a decision.
There were moments of doubt in many of my early marathons, after slogging through training and feeling the effects of high mileage, whether I’d even finish.
At the 2011 Grandma’s Marathon, I recall thinking that I couldn’t hold on to my pace — at mile 9. It remains the only time I finished with a negative split (running the second half faster than the first).
Now, I never worry about finishing. That question has been answered 22 times without fail. Now the question I ask myself is what do I want to do next?
Last year, I set out to make 2016 an epic year. Five marathons, culminating with New York. Five chances to finally qualify for the Boston Marathon. Despite a torn abdominal muscle, I finally hit the time mark I needed.
This year, I’ve been searching for another epic challenge. Spontaneously, while chatting with a friend after the Fargo Brewing Company’s weekly run, the quest was formed (more about that in a future post). Since then, I’ve found purpose again in my running — whether it be 12th Avenue intervals or an 18-miler on a cloudy, windy morning.
Maybe that’s why I woke up with a surge of energy and motivation.
In the end, we all must decide whether what we’re doing is worth it. The thought struck me the other day when a relative called on me for some guidance. I presented the facts, but ultimately the decision wasn’t mine. The conversation ended with me saying, “If it means something to you, than it’s worth it.”
A few hours later, I realized that applies to running, too. If a goal means something, than it’s worth it.