My one goal after completing the 2006 NYC Marathon was to break 3 hours. In 2008 I finished in 3:00:50 and 3:01:38 in 2009. Although I didn’t achieve my goal, “almost” served as motivation for me as I continued to work towards accomplishing this achievement.
I knew that in order to break 3 hours I had to go from “almost” getting out of bed to run at 5:00am in the dark, regardless of the weather, to just doing it! I felt as though if I went out to do an 8 mile run but got back home with 7.90 miles showing on my Garmin, that I had to do the additional tenth. While I could have been proud of the fact that I had almost done something in 2008 and 2009 that I had never dreamed was possible, it was not enough and I knew I had to train a harder to achieve it.
Sometimes almost is an accomplishment
I realize there are times in our life when “almost” is truly enough and is an accomplishment that should be celebrated. There are those once in a life time opportunities that we may experience and almost achieving something is a success in itself. Maybe it’s losing the last game of a championship season during a senior year or coming in second right before tackling a new challenge. For many these are crushing events at the time. However the challenge is not whether we get a second chance, but does this close call motivate, satisfy, or defeat us?
Not an Excuse
It seems like more people are either content with “almost” accomplishing something or use it as an excuse. Sometimes we see it as I observed during a recent event where they played the national anthem. I watched as a man almost moved to place his hand on his heart but then lowered it when those in his immediate vicinity had not. Other times we hear it from others when they tell us that they almost made it to church or almost made it to the gym.
Let’s all make an effort to live life to the fullest and try our hardest. We may never actually hit that goal, achieve that time, and we will surely never live a perfect Christian life. However, we can and should become better for trying day after day as we train, pray, work and interact with others in all areas of our life. Don’t accept complacency but be sure to strive for excellence as a runner, Christian, parent, or fill in the blank!
In 2010 I broke 3 hours in 3 marathons including NYC. It was accomplished with lots of help and support from my wife and children, my awesome running partner Bob, and countless friends who were supportive. Although it took me almost 40 years to realize it, I am blessed to appreciate it is the Lord who played the biggest role in this as He has throughout my life.
God Bless and Keep Running,