In a couple of weeks (actually 16 days but who’s counting?) I’ll be joining 50,000 others and running in the New York marathon.
I’m not sure what made me want to do it, it’s just always been on my bucket list. Right now, I’m kind of wishing it had been wine tasting in Bordeaux instead!
Apparently just under 1% of the world’s population have run a marathon. I’m not surprised it’s so few – training for a marathon is bloody hard work.
I’ve been pushed to the limit both mentally and physically. The physical side is tough – torn muscles, cramp, lost toenails…but the mental side, that’s the really tough bit.
Digging deep and finding the strength to keep going when you can see another hill ahead of you and you’ve already thrown up on the side of the first one, or when your undies are already chaffing at 14kms and you know you have another 14 to go; getting up, dressed and out the door by 5:30am on a winter Saturday morning when the rest of your family is still fast asleep in their warm beds & not going anywhere for at least another two hours…
I don’t have a runner’s body. And I don’t have a fast pace.
But what I do have is grit.
Angela Lee Duckworth sums up grit in her TED talk as the power of passion and perseverance for achieving your long term goals. It’s about having stamina, sticking with your future, day in, day out.
Duckworth also talks about talent not being what makes you gritty. In fact, her research has shown that grit is unrelated or even inversely related, to measures of talent.
Which is good because I am not talented at running; any ‘real’ runners looking at my form would feel sorry for me (as they run past!).
But I have improved my running through consistently following a training plan and setting improvement goals along the way. I’ve kept that goal of New York ahead of me for months now despite the setbacks along the way.
And as a working mum running a growing business, there’s been a few. None bigger though than another tumour springing up in my husband’s neck in June and the cancer nightmare which we thought we were over, was back again. For 4 weeks I sulked and felt sorry for myself, refusing to get out of bed when the 5am alarm clock went off.
But by refocusing on that end goal of New York, sticking with my future, I pulled up my big girls’ pants (literally!) and got going again.
So in 16 days, with an estimated 2 million spectators cheering me on, I reckon I can ignore the chaffing, dig deep and keep putting one foot in front of another for 4 ½ hours or so.
Pretty gritty, really.