in life

We All Need A Marathon

Two days away from running the Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis, my second go at 26.2 this year, I’m feeling excited, anxious, nervous, and slightly terrified. Symptoms that I’m doing something crazy. Symptoms that I’m doing something right.

The butterflies I’m feeling right now. The inexplicable, undeniable array of emotions. The gut check. It’s there to remind me that I’m on the right track – that I’m doing something that matters.

The most dangerous path to walk down is the apathetic path – but like you, I’ve been down that path before. Going through the motions of my career, telling myself “it is what it is”, chalking up something as “crazy” as running a marathon as something I’d never be able to do.

I’m really, really good at letting my inner voice talk myself out of everything.

  • “You’re not smart enough.”
  • “Stop worrying about wanting more and appreciate what you have.”
  • “You’ll never get any clients.”
  • “You’re too fat.”
  • “You’re crazy.”
  • “You suck.”

But I’ve made many conscious decisions and have continued to set some pretty audacious goals for myself over the past few years – and as a now 26-year-old business owner and marathon runner, I’ve proven to myself that even though it may be incredibly more demanding and challenging – the only path worth traveling is not the one you’re supposed to travel, but rather, the one you give yourself permission to embark upon.

As I’ve said before, we all need to run a marathon

  • Maybe your marathon is opening a savings account for that dream business you’ve been waiting to launch.
  • Maybe your marathon is starting a movement to raise awareness for a cause that really matters to you.
  • Maybe your marathon is embracing your own faith beliefs, not those you’ve been told are correct.
  • Or maybe your marathon is a marathon. Training your mind and body to overcome the impossible. Turning action into habit. “No” into “Hell yes!”

Deciding to “run a marathon” requires a bold step. But that arduous and overwhelming first step is what separates people who think, from people who try, people who act, people who believe, people who do. 

That’s the thing about marathons (literally or metaphorically). They smack you in the face, kick you in the ass, make you feel like shit, but keep you coming back for more.

The same could be said for anything your doing right now that really, truly matters.

So today, as I mentally prepare for the 26.2 miles I’m about to run, I ask you:

“What marathon will you run?”

(PS. Please pray for me that my iPod doesn’t die this time – I don’t want to hum the Saved by the Bell song in my head for 17 miles like last time. Please and thank you.)

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  1. Love this! I’m training for a half marathon right now, did my first full in June. I still have people ask me if I’ve lost my mind! I just tell them, no I finally found it!

  2. Great post Matt, my “marathon” is running. Something I never thought I’d be able to do but started last year and got quickly hooked. Running my 6th 1/2 marathon next weekend. Good luck in your run this weekend!!

    • Awesome. I’m the same way – I VERY quickly got hooked and where running started as something to lose weight and get healthy, it’s now become a big part of my daily life. Thanks for the well wishes!

  3. Matt,

    The best way to make sure that your iPod battery won’t die, is to leave it at home.

    If you have time before the marathon, practice this:
    Try running a few miles down a scenic route (like down a country road, a windy beach or around a lake) without the headphones or anything. Just to be present to where you are and allow thoughts to come in. It’s like a form of meditation and a great way to re-charge you own batteries.

    Best of luck, I look forward to reading about the update.

  4. Great post Matt! I gave myself permission to embark upon a few marathons (literally or metaphorically) over the course of a few years and am amazed where the journey has taken me.

    Good luck and if you ever have any sports nutrition questions just ask!

  5. Nice reading, I am running my 6th TC marathon on Sunday Oct 7th and I still have the butterflies I’m feeling right now. The inexplicable, undeniable array of emotions. The gut check. It’s there to remind me that I’m on the right track – that I’m doing something that matters

  6. Oh c’mon Matt, sing it with me: “It’s alright ’cause I’m saved by the bell…” ;) Proud of you, anyway! I’m sure you’ll kick that marathon’s ass in return.

    My marathon? Literally, I’ve ran a few 5Ks. I’d love to work my way to a full but I’m not sure my knees can handle it. Metaphorically, I’d love to either start or become involved with a movement I care about (more than just raising money). Haven’t found it yet, but I’m going to continue looking until I find it. I 100% believe my purpose here is to give back.

    Great post, as always & good luck!

  7. Good luck with the marathon, Matt! I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for your iPod. Can’t wait to read the recap!

    I’ll be conquering my own “marathon” this weekend in the 13.1 distance. I am feeling exactly what you’re feeling right now, so thanks for qualifying my feelings. I feel prepared for the distance, and I have my strategy sorted, but of course, things outside of your control come into play, and the forecast is calling for rain Sunday. I’m hoping and praying the rain holds off until after I cross the finish line, but I will have to take what comes.

  8. Great post! I’ll be sending positive vibes to your iPod throughout the race.

    I feel like every day I run a bit of my marathon by writing something new each day.

  9. Excellent post. I am all too familiar with those butterflies. Good thing they seem to flutter at your back once the gun blows. Best of luck today and I will be tightening my quick release laces at Ironman Los Cabos. There is nothing that says “let me run” than 112 miles on the bike.

    I remember sitting on a white sofa in Brazil saying, “I could NEVER do an Ironman.”

    Good think my word was written with erasable ink. Kill it today.

  10. After running a 7km fun run I decided to train for a half marathon. Thinking that was challenging but doable I decided to up the ante to a full. I got in touch with an organisation that enthusiastically replied with lots of information. I read the email and felt my chest tremor. I haven’t been scared like that since I made myself bungy jump 20 years ago! So I think I’m going to do it.

  11. I’m struggling through grad school right now, and was thinking about how much I can’t wait to be done. Then I panicked and realized — what am I going to do? What will be my next big project?

    Good luck running!

  12. Great Post! I was told last night by a close friend that I was “not athletic” and would never run a marathon. These words really hit a nerve. I’ve been stewing on them all day, but instead of stewing, I know I need to put that energy into accomplishing something great. Thank you for the inspiration. It came along to me at the perfect time.

  13. Hey Matt,

    What a wonderful surprise to stumble across this article. I love the ‘Symptoms that you are doing something right’. There are so many things about preparing for a long distance run that you can apply to real life. Perhaps that can be an article in itself :). I recently ran in a 10 km race after 4 years. I gave up running after a baby, a small leg surgery and a few wrong turns in life. It was pretty symbolic that the race route took me past the hospital where I was operated. Life truly does turn a full circle.