It was just about 40 miles into this journey of 800 miles (61 half marathons in 20 weeks) when I was reminded of a recent conversation with my wife where she asked, “61 half marathons? Are you nuts?”
It’s not the first time I’ve heard her ask me this same question so it didn’t faze me at all. And I didn’t ponder it much… well, at least until I started putting miles under my shoes.
There are a number of logical reasons that I could share with you as to why I would undertake this challenge at my age – most importantly, a very worthy cause. And you can read these reasons here.
But if you were to have stopped me along the fourth half marathon last week, I would simply have told you that the reason I set out on this journey is “because I think I can.” Please don’t think I’m pompous or arrogant, with an overexaggerated sense of ability; my intent in the comment is not of that nature. I say it and mean it collectively – for me and for you.
My friend, I believe that something happens deep into our late 30s when our mindset switches from “I’m going to be able to…” to “I used to be able to…” We begin to negotiate and let go of the smaller aspirations and then begin to relinquish a number of our lofty goals and dreams. And then, now that much further along our life, we ask ourselves, “Where did my youth go?”
Those aspirations, those goals and dreams, were planted inside each of us for good reason. And it is my belief that only you – that unique and rare person that you are – are equipped to make those specific and unique aspirations, goals and dreams within you come to fruition. Have you had gnawing thoughts to get more involved in a noble cause? A reoccurring desire to take steps toward a new personal challenge that might inspire many others? Invitations from others to “take a chance” and step beyond your comfort zone? Then, my friend, it may be time to say these four simple but powerful words: I THINK I CAN.
Will you successfully see a noble cause to its conclusion? Will you successfully rise beyond that personal challenge? Will it always feel good to step out of your comfort zone? Honestly, not always. But as I read so many years ago and use as a personal motivation of mine: We are simply called to be faithful, not necessarily successful. We will not always be successful in all we set out to do… personally, I still have a long way to go to reach 61 half marathons and an injury is always just around the corner. But when we take that leap of faith from “I used to be able to…” to “I think I can…”, something wonderful occurs: others want to join us in the journey. We help spark a sense of excitement and motivation in others. And in that, is also sweet success.
With regards to the incentives for running 61 half marathons, I refer back to an excerpt from an article I wrote four years ago:
We run because of loved ones. And personal challenges. And difficult hardships. And glorious dreams. But we run to face them head-on; to apply the seed of our accomplishment that germinates in these training runs and races to so many other areas of our life. We run in spite our personal challenges and despite our difficult hardships. We run to ignite our glorious dreams and loved ones. We run to again redeem that youthful spirit that remains nestled in each of us. This is our adventure, our gauntlet, our cause and our legacy.
My friend, before you dismiss this last quote, please know that this same sentiment pertains to any and all dreams that are nestled inside you. You want to walk your first 5K distance? You want to be more present for your children? You feel you need to spark your relationship with your loved one? You want to start on that hobby that you’ve placed on a shelf for several years? In these efforts can lie the seeds of success that you can apply to so many other areas of your life.
Redeem that youthful spirit nestled inside of you. Share that unique gift that you are, in spite of any personal challenges and despite your hardships. Your family, your community, your world, YOUR LIFE, is waiting for your unique contribution, so tell yourself today: I THINK I CAN.
Finally, it is my personal belief with regards to marathoning and Life’s journey: In the end, the ultimate goal is to get everyone to the end. None of us does it alone. We motivate, challenge and help one another along each and every journey… whether it be in a simple road race or all along the human race.
So today, my friend, listen to that gnawing desire to start moving toward a personal goal. Make a promise to yourself to take that first step toward that aspiration. Stay focused and faithful. And somewhere along the miles and trials, we will motivate and encourage each other.
DEDICATIONS ACROSS THE DISTANCE
Each of my 61 half marathons have and will be dedicated to an individual, family and/or cause; and through each 13.1-mile journey I will offer up those individuals, families and causes in prayer.
If you have a loved one, friend or cause that you would like me to dedicate a particular run/race, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. To view the runs/races that have already been dedicated, click HERE.
PLEASE CONSIDER A SMALL DONATION TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
The price of two 12 oz. bags of M&Ms or two boxes of 160-count napkins or three 2-liter bottles of soda… that’s all I’m asking. To reach my goal, I simply need 1000 persons who are willing to donate $6.10 to the Children’s Hospital. Will you be one of these 1000 persons?
If so, you can mail your donation to me or go online to the Children’s Hospital secured website (minimum of $10 donation). Your donation will go much further than any snack food, napkin or soda; it will help to save lives. Please consider donating.
VISIT MY WEBSITE AT: www.hoedlshaven.com/2011NYCMARATHON
Online Donations [CLICK HERE] or Mailed Donations [Lee Hoedl, 6155 16th St. South, Fargo, ND 58104]