Last week I was feeling pretty crap about all of this. I was overstressed and tired and I’d run a half marathon that I didn’t feel very good about. But I’ve been amazed by the response I received, not just from friends and family but also from complete strangers offering words of encouragement. So, with only one more week to go, I’m in a better place this week. AND, I have only four more training runs to knock out between now and the 28th. ALMOST THERE.
I’ve also been thinking this week about that elusive mojo, the mental fortitude that I’ll need to get around 26.2 miles. It’s the mojo that holds this whole circle together. So I’ve compiled a list of some of the women that have inspired me on this journey, inspired me to challenge myself beyond what I ever thought was possible and to remind me that I CAN DO THIS.
This week, I’ve picked up Wild again. Maybe it’s in anticipation of the movie, but I felt like I wanted to read Strayed’s words again, to walk with her along the Pacific Coast Trail, and to remember to be brave.
Chrissie Wellington is Britain’s other Iron Lady, a four-time Ironman Triathlon World Champion. I recently finished her book, A Life Without Limits and her story of winning the Ironman Championship in 2011 despite severe injuries from a cycle crash two weeks prior is a lesson in perseverance and winning the war against the desire to give up.
Our limits may not be where we think they are. And, even when we think we’ve finally reached them, the next time we go there exploring we often find that they’ve moved again.
Amy Purdy lost her legs to meningitis at the age of 19. Watch her powerful talk to hear how she dealt with this obstacle. You might need a kleenex.
Earlier this year, Harriette Thompson recorded the fastest marathon time for a woman over the age of 90. This was her 16th marathon. But the part of her story that’s even more inspiring? She ran this marathon with her legs covered in bandages to hide the wounds from the radiation treatment she’d been undergoing for skin cancer. Just a few weeks before the marathon she’d barely been able to stand, much less run. Did I mention she’s 91?
If if weren’t for Kathrine Switzer, I might not even be allowed to run a marathon. She was famously rugby tackled in her quest to become the first woman to run the Boston Marathon and to prove that women could actually run this far without their uterus falling out.
I discovered Jacqueline while listening to an episode of Marathon Talk on a long run. She’d just won the Comrades Marathon (one of the biggest ultramarathon events in the world) in her age group, women over 60. That is an amazing achievement in itself. But what really inspired me was the rest of her story. How she was a “late bloomer” in running terms, how she is on her way to running 100 marathons, and how she has refused to let age become a barrier.
Marathon No1 at Barrow completed. Now off to Portmerion for Festival No6 before returning to Barrow for 5 more marathons. Life begins at 60!
— Jacqueline Millett (@JacquieMillett) September 5, 2014
Julia has been my muse, the woman who’s taken all these lofty ideas of running and given me the practical tools to make those dreams a reality. Her passion for running and encouraging women of all shapes and sizes to take up the sport is infectious. Recently, Julia achieved a long time goal of completing an Ironman Triathlon and more than anything else, it was this photo of her crossing the finish that truly inspired me. The look of pure joy, euphoria, and achievement on her face says it all. That all that hard work and training was worth it.
And then there is Diana. Never, ever give up. Her mantra, “Find a Way.”
There is nothing I could say about this woman and what she’s accomplished that she doesn’t say better herself.
ONE MORE WEEK!!
SHANTARAM Countdown: 4 hours 45 minutes