I am not a quitter

Three years ago, I was in a very different place.

Without going into too many details, I will just say that I was going through several difficult transitions in life and I lost sight of the bigger picture. I often forgot how to smile. I felt uninspired and went through each day not particularly looking forward to the next. Time passed by at a snail’s pace.

If someone told me back then that in 2010, I’d attempt to run a marathon, I would have looked at them blankly while my eyes glazed over.

Aside from academic and career-related goals, I have historically gone through life reacting to events around me. “As soon as…” was a common phrase within my vocabulary. I stood at the edge of the precipice, and told myself that one day I’d take the plunge. As soon as….

And yet, I allowed myself to fall back into the trap of letting my happiness depend on other people. I convinced myself that if I followed the path that was clearly set before me, I would eventually find “happiness”. As soon as…

It was a culmination of events that finally pushed me over the edge. At the time, I rebelled against these events. I disrespected my health, my body, and myself. I forgot how to smile. I forgot how to try. I stopped living each day to its fullest.

And then I decided to jump.

The day I went skydiving, I promised myself to stop being afraid of what I could do and where I could go. I promised myself that I’d try harder to take charge of my life and challenge myself by doing things that excited me, that scared me, and that I knew would help me grow as a person.

I made a top-secret list of life goals, and one by one, I started working towards them. I didn’t expect anything to fall into my lap. I lived my life accepting mediocrity as the card I was dealt in life and it has forced me to develop a work ethic that always pushed me to work to achieve what I want. It wasn’t easy. I failed a lot. I know I am going to continue failing; I would expect no less.

But I never give up. Whenever I ‘fail’, I cry, I sulk, and then I pull myself away from feeling helpless and push forward. I take everything that I’ve learned and put myself back out there. The longer I take to do this, the harder it becomes to pull myself out.

And you know what? Eventually, great things can happen to an average joe like me.

Like having an opportunity to show your art in not one-

– but two shows.

And stumbling upon the best running group and coaches to get me through some of the toughest workouts I’ve endured which allowed me to celebrate my hard work with a few races.

Why do I run? There are countless reasons that I could list, but the biggest reason that I do it is because it makes me feel alive. It constantly amazes me that having spent the majority of my life in various sedentary positions, here I am, getting ready to taper down and run my first marathon.

For the past few weeks, I have been feeling terrified. Wondering if every little ache, pain or missed work out would be enough to get me through the race next Sunday. I’ve been doubting all the work that I’ve put towards this marathon, and hyper-focusing on race day, forgetting about all of the past events that took place to get me to where I am now.

Three years ago, I couldn’t run 1 kilometer without gasping for air. Three years ago, I made every excuse to not pick up a paint brush. Three years ago, I saw a long, straight path ahead of me and I told myself that I may as well continue walking down it because it was the easiest thing to do.

Shame on me to think I could take the easy way out.

Here I am today, days away from my first attempt to finish a marathon with a smile on my face and I’m still worrying about the small things. I really don’t know how things will go next Sunday. Like I learned in August, anything can happen on race day. But a few lines from this cheesy, yet sweet 10-10-10 song sums it up quite nicely: “When we chose to commit, a fire was lit, and I’ll be damned if any one of us will quit.

I am not a quitter.

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12 thoughts on “I am not a quitter”

  1. Alison, you inspire me.

    You will do great on Sunday. I think you captured an important idea in your post — three years ago, you didn’t run. That’s huge — look how far you have come!

    You should be so proud of yourself. How many people run marathons? Not many! Too many people choose to live life in the easy lane….to see the world from their couch or computer. Good for you for getting out there! You are a winner just by tying up your running shoes.

    Best of luck to you on Sunday. I’ll be cheering for you!

  2. You are fearless and alway get up after a fall. Go for it! Reach for the moon. We’ll be there for you and cheer for you all the way.

  3. Alison,

    I am always grateful for your blog entries. You touched on many themes that most people refuse to admit or address (mediocrity, fear, failure)and for that I salute you and feel very proud to be your friend!

    I haven’t run in 2 weeks and am feeling the loss. A quiet mourning – I am going to run this week and I will run on Sunday morning thinking of you in Chicago, accomplishing your firs, but not last marathon.

    I admire your tenacity of spirit, strength of mind and commitment to grow. Not many young gals out there like you!!!

    Can’t wait to hear all about your marathon adventure.

    Best of luck.

    Bonnie 🙂 xx

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