In that marathon, you run through the five boroughs starting in Staten Island, across the bridge into Brooklyn, then Queens, Manhattan, and into the Bronx and finally back into the finish line in Manhattan.
By the time I reached Queens, it was a clear morning and the beautiful children were out with candy served on paper plates.
This was the fifth time I had run it, so I knew what to expect.
When I reached Queens, I was somewhere near half finished. But, I hurt; my neck, my back and especially my legs hurt; but mostly my mind hurt. I hurt worse than at any time in 54 marathons.
I always carried $4-5 rolled up in a tiny pocket in my shorts for a drink, or candy bar, or in an emergency, the subway.
In Queens the subway ran under the street I was running on. How easy it would be to quit and catch the subway to where I was staying near Central Park.
As someone said, “Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever.”
I knew, in order to quit, I must get my story straight. “I was too cold”, “too much rain” or “my boss was terrible”, “they weren’t paying me enough”, “she didn’t like my mother”, “she wouldn’t let me hunt and fish after we got married”, etc.
I couldn’t “get my story straight”. I needed a story to tell myself if I quit.
I couldn’t think of “a story” that would make it ok in the eyes of our children and grandchildren. The truth was, they wouldn’t think less of me, and they would continue to love me.
I slowed more, but, I couldn’t make it “ok to quit”.
I had the “reason why” in my mind. “I didn’t want to let our children, et al, down”.
I kept slogging and the pain and exhaustion left me and I finished.
Had I made it ok to quit, I would have:
The lesson for me, never make it ok to get my story straight so I can quit anything because it is hard and I am experiencing discomfort, if, I have…another step in me.