The Secret

I’m still wrapping my head around exactly what I’ve signed myself up for. After completing one bad half marathon and another good one last winter, I kept the runner’s high rolling by registering for the Chicago Marathon in October 2018. I’ve wanted to run this race since I saw and fell in love with Spirit of the Marathon. The day I received my acceptance email, I was thrilled! I got to plan a trip! And brag on the internet! And fantasize about deep-dish pizza!

Turns out first I actually have to get to work.

Being a marathoner means having a long-term plan and a short-term memory. It’s been over a year since I last ran 26.2, and I’ve selectively forgotten my sore legs and black toenails. My memory is fuzzy on past hill sprints, and I simply don’t recall the social plans I bailed on in order to go to bed early and be up running by dawn. All I remember is how strong I felt working toward my goal, and how proud I was to meet it. I’ve missed that feeling. I want it back.

But now I’m here at the start of a very long road. I ran two miles yesterday and five this weekend, with a significant amount of huffing and puffing. It’s taking some time to shake off the dust from winter, and it certainly isn’t glamorous (as anyone who saw me struggling up Terwilliger Hills this weekend can attest).

Bad runs happen. Bad weeks happen. Bad circumstances happen, and we have to deal with all of it. Of course it isn’t fair. It doesn’t matter. Because once we stop dwelling on the bad and decide to act on what’s within our power, we get to start working toward the good — like running my dream marathon with Oprah.

There’s no other way through the bad days than to keep showing up to do the work. There is no secret. Keep going.

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