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Dave Griffin On Running: Accomplish Something Significant

Dave Griffin On Running
Accomplish Something Significant

The distance of a marathon is 26 miles, 385 yards. Ask any marathoner and they'll tell you that the journey is much longer.
Typically, that journey begins with the desire to accomplish something significant, combined with a strong dose of apprehension.
At stake are months of dedicated training. The sun will rise each day with the runner understanding what has to be done. That day's workout may be an easy 4 miler, intervals on the track or a key 20 mile run. Whatever is on the schedule, it must be done regardless of what conditions wait outside. The commitment can't be conditional.
When race day comes, even as the race lies ahead, most will have accomplished more in their marathon journey than they've ever accomplished before. While anticipating the start, that accomplishment is quietly shared between runners. Everyone understands what it took just to get to the starting line.
The gun sounds with relief that the race is underway and the early miles pass easily, usually in conversation with runners nearby. The mental battles begin in the middle of the race, when the miles behind you seem long, but those ahead seem longer. The real physical test begins between 18 and 22 miles when the limits of human physiology are suddenly reached.
The rest of the journey is a test of the spirit. The runner remembers all that has been invested as each mile marker becomes a small victory.
It's impossible to describe the feeling that comes when the finish line appears. The physical pain eases as a wave of excitement pulls the runner home.
During a marathon journey, every aspect of the person has been tested. Every nook and cranny of a being has been explored. And, in the process, the sheer truth of discovery is life changing. Suddenly, potential has new meaning.
From the moment the finish line is crossed, the runner's perspective on life changes. Life-long dreams seem less distant, impossible obstacles appear less daunting and life becomes less about what happens to you and more about how you respond.
You might say that each of us travels a series of journeys, some we choose while others are thrust upon us. When things work as they should, each journey prepares us for those yet to be taken, like stepping stones moving us forward.
While the year is new, you should consider the journey your taking now. Did you choose it thoughtfully or are you drifting? If it's the later, maybe you should think about what path to travel next.
I don't know if you'll ever consider running a marathon. Maybe, running a mile without stopping would be just as significant for you. I only suggest that you choose a journey that tests your spirit and sharpens your will. You may need the strength for the journeys yet to come.

Dave Griffin writes a bi-weekly running column and offers coaching to high school and adult runners of all levels. Contact Dave at

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