I have the above picture on my study wall. A picture to remind me of struggle and however hard things are to never give up. To realise I can achieve anything I set my mind to, if I’m determined enough about it. The picture in question is of me about 20 seconds out from the line at the Melbourne Marathon. The pain and tiredness is etched into my face. People might look at the photo and say why would you put yourself through three and a half hours of pain? My answer would be, you can’t see my face 20 seconds later, the exuberance, the thrill of finishing and smile and sense of achievement that didn’t leave my face my months.
Running is very much a metaphor for life for me. Its about struggle and success, the will to carry on when your have nothing left (or in the words of Rudyard Kipling If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew to serve your turn long after they are gone). The ability to prove people wrong, to turn that negativeness into something so positive.
Running for me crystallises my thoughts, its one of the only times I feel I have complete clarity of thoughts, I see things clearly, I truly feel at one with myself. I realise the things that are important in my life and the things that aren’t.
Running teaches me another important lesson, the race is only against one person, myself. Its a battle against those little voices in our heads, those voices of self doubt that mutter their way throughout our lives. That a huge percentage of the ability to run is mental is in my mind not in doubt.
The final lesson that it teaches me is that the finish line isn’t really the end, its just the start in my need to constantly improve and strive to be better.