When our children learn to ride a bike, shoot a basket or kick a goal they often fail – many times. Yet, as their parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents or loved ones we encourage them to try again. In some cases we require them to. Simply put we discourage them from giving up. We want them to succeed, to stick with it, quite simply to continue to try.
This thought came to me most recently as I await taking the starting line of my second Full Marathon. On Sunday, March 22 I will participate in the Fifth Annual Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon. Similar to the first Full Marathon I ran last October, I know the first half of this course. In March of 2012 this event was the home of my first Half Marathon, as I took on the 13.1 mile distance. Next Sunday I’m going to the 26.2 mile achievement.
Looking back I vividly remember that Half Marathon. Speaking frankly, I hated it. Life at the time was busy and a bit overwhelming. Many things took precedence to the training schedule I was to adhere to and I really lacked the confidence and assurance of being ready. I did manage to finish with a time of 2:36 and I did feel accomplished, but man was I sore.
The company I ran that event in was superior, I had a great time on course, but those final 3.1 miles really tested me mentally and physically. I just wanted to A. Be done and B. Wondered why I ever thought this was a good idea.
Just like child birth, we hit the finish line and suddenly we wonder … when is the next one?
As the mind races and we live through the shock of completing something we never thought possible, we’re also hit by the voices of those who love us. The encouraging words of friends and family celebrating what you have accomplished. The beauty of this of course is that they cannot hear what is active in our heads. The wonder of ‘maybe if,’ ‘why didn’t I,’ the list goes on.
Now in my third year of running races, I’ve learned a little. Oh, sure I can chew the fat with the best of them on technique and training to adequately prepare. Runners are true athletes in the sense of constant analysis and how can we better … (insert one of many things here)?
The beauty of this of course is that we can always try again.
Just as it is with a baseball game or any other sport, no two races are the same. The challenge, however, the drive for better never fully rests. We have to try.
So, next Sunday I will try again. This time I’m prepared. Training miles well over 400, dozens of hours spent in running shoes and constant analysis of how I can better my race.
At the end of it all, my reason for continuing is no different than a recreational fisherman or sharp shooter … It’s fun. I love the energy of race weekend. The gathering of individuals prepared to take on the unknown to add to their personal journey.
So what does all this mean really? The question is quite simple … will you try again?
It gets back to the opening paragraph and how we continue to encourage our children. We deserve the same for ourselves. Sure, there are moments when we think ‘that was a mistake’ or ‘why did I try?’ In essence we are no different than our children. We are just as deserving of knowing not only that we tried but not only that we can, but … We did.
After all … greatness comes from uncertainty. We owe it to ourselves to try, try again.
Teresa Hammond is a former reporter and current circulation manager for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.