Have you ever reached a place in life you knew was meant to be but, almost believed it wouldn’t actually happen… that achievement or place in your life you need to get to but at the same time have your history and past experiences telling you it’s not possible? Me too… when I reached mile twelve in the 2013 Portland Marathon my calf started cramping seizing up to the point I couldn’t run more than about 50 yards without stopping to stretch. It was at that time, I worried My history of disappointment may repeat and my Finish Line may not come. How I would make it another 14 Miles like this?… How could I finish.
I think it’s amazing how we overcome obstacles in our life that seem absolutely insurmountable and at the time, almost impossible? What’s in us that makes it possible? What makes us continue when it makes more sense to quit? At this point in my life I don’t really have a word for it… but, I know it’s in me, It’s in YOU too.
My family had trouble getting through traffic and blocked off streets to meet me at the East end of the St. Johns Bridge, I was really hoping to get some support from them at this check point. I had been struggling with my calf seizing up for about 5 miles and all I wanted was to see my wife Diana, she would help me work through it. She has an amazing gift for helping the body change in a moment. For those that don’t know her, she is a healer and knows the human body and how to ‘work it’ better than anyone I know. I knew If I could talk to her, I would be O.K. As I mentioned, they weren’t there… The next 4 miles is where my demons were hitting me hard with everything they had.
Fortunately, I also had Diana’s voice in my head telling me to get the muscle to relax, Relax your hamstrings she said, relax your butt muscles… This would work every time but it would only work for about a city block before it seized up again. I kept hearing, you can’t make it that far, it hurts too much, your family would understand, just stop. With every few steps, I felt more alone, more irritated and more hopeless. I was facing my personal hell on the most beautiful day this Fall and with thousands of people on the streets, I was alone. I felt every pain from my childhood, every sense of being abandoned, unsupported and not being enough to Finish. Something kept me going though.
I’ve always admired people that could carry on in the midst of tremendous hardship. I’ve always wanted to know what mentality allowed them to keep going. Were they tougher than me, smarter? Crud, I know I completed my previous journey of Kidney failure and healing from it but, that was honestly easier than this darn marathon. This flippin’ thing was painful.
I was at my breaking point at Mile 21 and when I thought I couldn’t do it anymore, I finally saw my family… my son Jordan was waiting and willing to run the rest of the way with me. I don’t know what he really said, but I heard… C’mon Dad, I’m gonna finish with you. There was something so reassuring about hearing my youngest son tell me he was going to go the distance with me. Jordan is that kind of boy, he will go the distance. He’s faithful and will see it to the end. Thank you again Jordan Howes, you’re a Rock.
Jordan pulled me in the last 5 miles, and helped me cross over and finish my first marathon. My time of course doesn’t matter, but it was 5 hours 16 Minutes. Of course it matters… If it didn’t matter I wouldn’t have bought a stop watch. 🙂
That night, I had an AHA… every limiting belief I carried onto that race course, hit me in the face while I was out there. They tried to sabotage me and delay my dream of Finishing a Marathon.
I have always believed in life, all we ever really experience is our self. Our good that we easily welcome and our darkness, the hidden things we try to avoid. Then I wondered, What if I was at peace with myself when I started this race today, would I have had smoother, less violent experience? Not sure, but that’s my game plan for my next race and at least now I know I can do it. I know I have it in me.
I think anyone who has had a tremendous personal Victory has traveled through a portion of there personal Hell and Finishing the 2013 Portland Marathon was a personal accomplishment I’ll never forget. With 2 blocks to go, I had a tremendous Rush, all the pain left and I heard my body tell me to Finish Fast… I started Running like I never had cramping, it was amazing. When I crossed the finish line, I raised my arms in Victory and Felt that rush of Hell Yes I did it. I was handed my Finisher’s Medal and Space Blanket then a photographer postured to take my Picture… I wanted to make sure the camera captured my bib that Said Victory, so I opened my arms wide and smiled as the camera captured the moment. ‘click’.
I saw the picture today, I can’t see any pain on my face, it was gone. Yeah, it was a great accomplishment to run 26.2 miles, but I think the real accomplishment was overcoming my own mind. Overcoming the childhood beliefs of being abandoned, not feeling supported by my family, not being enough to do it.
Ultimately realizing that the something that was greater than all that… is in me. I’m still not sure what it is but, I’ll call it Victory.
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