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Life Isn’t a Marathon….It’s a Moment!

It has now been 2 days since I completed my first marathon.   I have since contemplated the relationship between running a marathon and living life itself.  

I immersed myself in 6 months of fully dedicated training leading up to the marathon as I desired so badly to be spiritually, mentally, emotionally and, of course, physically prepared to take on the long and arduous task of running 42.2 km.  For those 6 months I applied all of the tools and strategies, both mental and physical, in the field of peak performance that I had learned over the years.  They certainly guided me in my training and in the actually race.

Previous to this race, I had no experience in running any official mid to long distance races except for track and field in high school, which was the total distance of 100 meters.  I was a sprinter, that’s it!  I found no pleasure whatsoever in running longer than 300 to 400 hundred meters, tops.

There were times over the course of 6 months where I felt like quitting.  My feet and calves were sore constantly and the long runs ranging from 16 to 34 kilometers were brutal.  So, what was it that kept me going?

running2Well, there were a few factors.  For starters, I had a tremendous support system from my wife, family, friends, clients and mentors/coaches who were constantly encouraging me along the way.  Here is one of the biggest pieces of advice I can and will give to you regarding this matter: Who you choose to spend most of your time with will determine many of your habits and the results you achieve in life, so choose wisely!  If you desire to raise your standard, then surround yourself with people who live at higher standards.  Study their habits and mimic them.  Why attempt to figure it all out on your own or reinvent the wheel when there are thousands upon thousands of people who are doing what you desire to do, and with excellence.  This will not only save you time, but lots of frustration.

I spent a lot of time studying the training methods of many seasoned marathon runners ie. nutritional requirements, training schedules, tips and tricks to maximize recovery and performance etc.  I would ask people who had run marathons before any advice they would give me so I had a little bit of an extra edge when training and competing.  I even visited the local “Running Room” from time to time to speak to the experts there.  The best advice that the gentleman working there gave me was the following: “By the time you get to the race you will have trained for 6 long and hard months.  So, enjoy the race when it comes, for the race itself, is your victory lap!” That simple shift in how I looked at the race completely floored me.  

At the very second he said that, I had an epiphany: Life isn’t a marathon; it’s a moment!  I realized more than ever that every journey that you take – if you desire to learn, grow and enjoy it – must be taken moment by moment without any thought of outcome or past failures.  I often say to my clients, “Enjoy the process; trust in the training, and the outcome will take care of itself.”  Over the course of 6 months, I treated this journey with that exact mindset.  I didn’t put my attention on the race or past failures other than during my visualization/meditation exercises.  During my meditations, I would visual myself running a clean and smooth race, crossing the finish line and the feeling I would get from completing it.  Any time I would make a mistake in my training I would simply learn and profit from what wasn’t working.  Yes, there were times I would make a mistake in my training, and that was particularly the time I would learn from it, and move on without hesitation.  I treated each training run, whether long or short as a race itself, enjoying every single one along the way.  In each of my training runs my heart, mind and soul was completely immersed in the moment.  I would often smile throughout each run no matter how hard and painful it was.  I was simply grateful for who I was becoming in the process of training for a marathon; what I was learning along the way; who I was running the race for – The Canadian Cancer Society and people who I really loved and cared about who were struggling with cancer; and, what I was ultimately contributing.  I enjoyed every single moment!!!

Ladies and gentlemen, the same goes for life.  What good is living life only for the outcome if you hated the process.  I often give the example of Christmas and the weeks leading up to this celebration.  Everyone gets so excited about December 25th, but it’s really the anticipation of it that makes it so enthralling, isn’t it?  What happens when Christmas day actually comes?  As soon as it’s here, it’s over in a flicker of a second.  We sit there thinking “It’s over…is that all there is?”

When I ran the marathon, I took every single moment of pain and pleasure in.  At the halfway mark my injured left knee began to really hurt.  The pain was really sharp.  For about an hour or so there were streams of thoughts that I wasn’t going to make it.  I enjoyed those moments, too!  Really, I did!  I knew with every breath of me, that pain is part of the process and that the pain was teaching me something.  More importantly, the experience of doubt and pain was introducing me to who I really am and what I am capable of.   As the great Greek philosopher, Epictetus, stated so long ago, “Adversity introduces a person to him or herself.”  That is exactly who I was being introduced to; my character and limitless power surfaced as a result.

When I finally crossed the finish line, burst of tears and emotion overwhelmed me as my family and friends cheered me on.  “WE did it,” I silently said to myself.  I realized that it wasn’t only me that was running and enjoying the victory, but every person who supported and encouraged me along the path.  Their love and presence were carrying me through, so it was “our” victory.

When it was all said and done, we celebrated together as a team throughout the entire day.  It was beautiful and a memory I will never forget.

Now that the marathon is complete and that moment a past event, it is now on to creating bigger and more bountiful ones.  That’s exactly my point, life IS this moment; it is nowhere else, but here, right now!  Within each and every moment are infinite possibilities awaiting to be explored by the creator and author, you!

Your life is filled with magical moments. Whatever “marathon” path you choose to take, make each moment magical.

May you walk in freedom and know that you are blessed all the days of your life.

To your greatest gift, this moment – NOW!

Peace and love everyone,

Anthony

POWER – PURPOSE – PASSION!

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