Same Song, Second Verse

A little bit faster…yes! A little bit faster the second time around. Maybe that’s why I’m doing it again? Maybe not.

85A53699-A5C0-4F5C-A759-43F57E36CF4DSo first off, I am running the NYC Marathon again this year. Round 2. Why? Let’s talk it through together. Let me remind you of my experience last year .  I got no rush when I crossed the finish line in Central Park. Sure, it was cool, but it did not even move my proverbial needle. The real emotion was during the 4 hours and 32 minutes (and 12 seconds) leading up to the finish line, and even more so, the 4-5 months of training and racing leading up to that. I had never personally bought into the whole “the journey is the actual reward” line. Now, I am a firm believer because I have experienced it firsthand. A few years ago, I would have wanted to just flaunt the end result. Now, it truly is all about the hard work behind the scenes, which is an unbelievable metaphor for life and an unbelievable transformation for me!

Let me tell you how I feel right now on April 15, 2018. My right shin still hurts from the race 5 months ago. My right hip and pelvis still hurt from the intense arthritis that I have. So why, when I was invited by The Arthritis Foundation to run again in 2018, would I even consider? I took 3 days to mull it over. I polled some of you all to see if it would set any light bulbs off. Ultimately, it came down to the immense personal satisfaction and fulfillment that came with the journey last year. If I could replicate that again this year and in years to come, man that would be awesome! I want to point out that I didn’t say it was fun. Nor did it make me happy. Satisfied and fulfilled, which I have learned over the past year are so, so much more important to me.

708CEA8D-E6FA-4399-B775-6482786E4A7BWhat if this became my story? Guy who hates running overcomes terrible arthritis pain to run marathons in his favorite city in the world to raise money for the very disease that prevents him from doing certain daily tasks. What if this became my thing? What if starting last year, I run the NYC Marathon every year until the day that I die? Sorry…I am a dreamer. But what if…

What’s your story? What gives you satisfaction and fulfillment? Have you found it yet? Are you putting in the hard work? Are you enjoying the journey? I wasn’t. Let me say that again. I was not. I loved the headlines, not the work. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the headlines, but I have (and continue) to put in the hard, hard work on my self. I love the work now. I love walking down to the track and putting in the grueling work in the sun. I love what it represents. I love how it makes me feel. I love that I sleep so peacefully those nights. And when I am fulfilled, I am much more valuable to this world. So too, I bet, are you.

Last year’s race theme was “It Will Move You”, and boy did it. It also used these words: “ free, vindicate, empower, celebrate, change, reward, stun, impress, hypnotize, welcome, surprise, challenge, break, rally, support, transform, unite, energize, push, humble, dare, lift, excite, intimidate, feed, devour, inspire, connect, overwhelm, and entertain”. Here’s the thing: I personally needed a stern test, and it was.  It made me sick. It made me uncomfortable. It made me hurt. But of all the words I quoted above, I see these most prominently: “transform, energize, humble, and inspire”. At the ripe old age of 35, I am finally starting to figure myself out, and it is so very freeing (to steal the first word from above). And if running the NYC Marathon every year becomes a part of my journey, then you shall know where to find me every first Sunday in November.

IMG_4242Life is so exciting.  What’s your story? Start writing…

Have a great week.-Benj

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