a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

tuesday setup 10/9/12: lessons from the long run

< by Jill >

On Sunday at about 11:30 a.m., I finished my 10th marathon.

On Monday at about 11:30 a.m., I sat on the couch with my mom, paging through an issue of Cooking Light. At some point between bookmarking a recipe and learning a new vocab word—a pomegranate seed is called an aril!—we came across an interview with a woman named Mary Creel. The first line caught my eye:

One of Cooking Light‘s founding editors, Mary Creel, is set to run her 50th marathon this month.

Immediately I felt a pang of inadequacy. I’ve only run 10 marathons. I’m 26 years old. This means I have to run 40 more marathons to be as good a Mary Creel.

Then it spun out of control. Well, okay, if I run two marathons per year for the next 20 years, then I’ll be all caught up. Or maybe I can do three, but I’ll have to boost the intensity of my training program and start actually stretching and eating good things like quinoa and also I’ll need to learn how to pronounce that and cook it too.

I glanced back at the page and looked Mary Creel dead in the eye. She smiled back, holding a fistful of medals. I could hear them clanking, a veritable bell choir of participation awards.

And then I said stop. Suppress your ego. Look inward. Be objective. See yourself for what you are—no biases, no comparisons—and just be. Just be a person who did 10 marathons. It’s okay.

And then I looked at Mary Creel and thought, “Wow. That’s really cool. She ran 50 marathons.”

_ _ _

I’ve learned many lessons from marathons. Some simple—don’t wear new shoes on raceday—some more complex—don’t compare yourself to other runners—but all transformative. This week, I’ll be passing on the knowledge I’ve gained while racing 262 miles. I hope the stories give everyone—Mary Creels and non-runners alike—a flicker of inspiration to get up and go after their goals.

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