Ten years ago today (June 5, 2010) I ran my very first 5K race. I was overweight, out of shape, and unable to commit to running the full 3.10 miles without frequent walk breaks. Participating in that event reignited my long lost love of running and I made the decision to keep it up.
A few months later (October 2010) I ran another 5K race with NO WALK BREAKS.
Fast forward even further and I had lost the 40 lbs of extra weight I had been carrying around on my 5’ 6” frame, had gained multiple distance race experiences, and was now toeing the line of my very first full marathon.
Since that day in 2014, despite swearing that I would “never run another marathon”, I have continued to run and race all levels of distance ranging from the exhilarating rush of the 1-mile time trial to the enormous commitment of the highly respected 50K Ultramarathon.
Since shedding those extra forty pounds, I have successfully kept them off for nearly a decade and have greatly improved my 5K performance since that very first race.
Somewhere along the line, from then till now, I fell in love with Boston and the idea that I could, possibly, one day be “good enough, strong enough, fast enough” to qualify for and be invited to run the iconic Boston Marathon.
The unicorn has graced the Boston Marathon finish line for decades. This mythical creature, which started as the symbol for the Boston Athletic Association, has become synonymous with the historic race, gracing runner’s jackets, medals, and trophies. The athletic club was founded in 1887 (the first Boston Marathon took place in 1897) and the unicorn was associated with all the organization’s sports.
“The unicorn is a mythological figure that is meant to be pursued, but, in that pursuit, you never catch it.” Jack Fleming, the BAA’s chief operating officer, said. “So it inspires you to continue to try – to race harder in the case of running – and though it may be elusive, it really is the pursuit of the unicorn that makes you better and better and better.”
It is this thought concept that replays over and over in my mind as I continue to run and train and try again and again and again to become a better, harder, stronger, faster marathoner in an effort to qualify. I continually inspire myself with stories (like the ones featured in the documentary “The Barkley Marathons”) of other runners who, also, strive for hard things. Most marathon & ultra runners know all about Barkley – a race intentionally designed to make finishing impossible…and affectionately, yet aptly, dubbed “the race that eats its young”. While Boston (or even the qualifying process for Boston) is nowhere near as difficult as the Barkley Marathons, the concept remains the same : setting the bar so high that not everyone can achieve it. And, by setting this bar so high, it encourages and inspires only the truest and most sincere of athletes to continually strive to achieve this next level of athleticism. Sometimes, however, even your “next level” is still not good enough. Sometimes it never will be. But there’s victory in the attempt, and honor in the defeat.
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy
Which brings me to NOW.
As I settle into my newfound role of Ambassador for Rabbit, a California-born running apparel company, while entering another training cycle for my next Boston Qualifying attempt. I’ve submitted applications to other companies in the past, in an attempt to represent them as an Ambassador, but have never been selected until now. The mindset of this particular company is definitely one that I relate to and wholeheartedly support.
“Crafted in California, rabbit is a female-founded running apparel brand that supports runners and dreamers of all levels.”
“We love running, but we love runners even more, and a key part of our mission at rabbit is to contribute to the sport by supporting runners at every level.”
“Obviously not all of us can be Olympic champions or even contenders. It may be the PROs who set the records, but the everyday runners are the people who really define the sport. Our RADrabbits (Runners And Dreamers) are amateur runners of every skill level who truly embody the spirit of running and who we are proud to have represent us all across the country.”
“Above all, running requires dedication, and the discipline that PROs exhibit inspires us all to be better runners and to continue to chase our dreams. We are extremely proud to support our rabbitPROs in their pursuit of success at the highest levels of our sport.”
This slight addition to my running “resume”, along with the moral obligation to keep up encouraging others, further empowers me to keep on keeping my own chin up, high with hopes of chasing and, one day, catching that elusive “unicorn”. You see, so long as we just keep trying, we continue to WIN!
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