There is much you can develop within yourself when you participate in marathons or challenges. It is not only about the sport; it is about how it helps you sharpen and develop the necessary skills to cross the finish line! These include determination, perseverance, and goal-setting, and can all translate into your personal and professional life.
I remember that day…
I was racing in the GranFundo long-distance cycling competition in New York in 2018, and was a few kilometers away from the end. I had already been riding 10hours to climb 8,500 feet and was just 163km (100miles) short of the finish line.
At that point, you feel your body is beaten down, your spirit is crushed, you’re exhausted and sweaty and moving on autopilot, and you are fighting within yourself, “Stop or go, stop or go”.
You may start doubting your capabilities, your strength, why on earth you ever chose cycling as a sport- especially when you see a lot of people around you stopping!
Yet you continue.
Sometimes I wonder; what kept me going in that grueling race? Was it determination? Was it my sense of self-discipline to see through what I had started? Was it thinking about the glory of crossing that finish line? It was all that…
But there was something more.
What really kept me going was the vision of my son waiting at the end, cheering me on. I knew he would still love me and accept if I didn’t finish, but I knew he would be ecstatic if I did. And I wanted to see that bright sense of pride in his eyes- even parents like the feeling that their kids are proud of them.
So I pushed to continue up and down the different slopes, often finding myself alone on long stretches, consistently motivated by the image of him at the finish mark, applauding his mama for persevering.
Suddenly I was jolted out of my focus by the announcement that time was running out (to be eligible to win, you must complete this challenge within ten and a half hours)…
…and I was in the last few minutes.
I was determined to continue, but have to admit that hill in the last stretch almost did me in. I got off my bike and walked a few steps, just to get a little perspective. Then that image of my son came back in my head and the thought, “I want him to see me finish” filled me with renewed energy.
I got back on and continued to pedal up the steep slope. I could hear the audience cheering up ahead…
Who’s the inspiration that gets you moving? When we are confronted with challenges that could defeat us and deflate our motivation, what keeps us going? When we accomplish goals, we do it for ourselves, but also for others in our lives.
As I was coming towards the end, I heard the announcer exclaim,”There’s one more rider coming!”. I could hear the bystanders clapping as he yelled, “You’ve got one minute left!”. I pushed harder and gave it all I had…
and made it with 33seconds left to go.
I was elated.
I had pushed beyond the pain and the challenge and had done it.
But what was an even sweeter reward was when the vision that had kept me going the whole time, finally turned into reality. What a hug I got from my son- that was more rewarding to me than any medal.
When I asked my son if he thought I would have made it, he said, “I knew you could do it- it would have been okay with me if you hadn’t made it within the time, but I knew you’d finish”. It’s such a good feeling to have someone – be it a partner, a child, a friend or a parent- have faith in you, and to see your potential and the capability within you.