in life

What Marathon Are You Running?

“…In short, running is a battle not against competition, but rather, against yourself. It’s an extremely personal experience. It’s a war against your own mind and body. It’s a test of wills. Who will be triumphant? The bruised feet, the heavily beating heart, and the chaffed nipples, or a person who was able to overcome himself to achieve something great?…” - Spoken by yours truly on January 4, 2012.

As 2012 began, I was looking for a new project to take on. Because, you know, running a business, surviving as a new homeowner, and dare I say, “living”, just wasn’t quite enough. No, I needed something big. Something challenging. Something that seemed nearly impossible.

So I signed up for a marathon. 26.2 miles. With a little under 5 months to get my body, and maybe more importantly my mind in a place where I could take on one of the biggest challenges of my life.

And now, here I am, 5 days away from the big day. Thinking this is as ready as I’ll ever be to face this challenge. Feeling incredibly nervous and scared, but honestly, wildly excited.

Something happened to me during this training process. Something “clicked”. I knew I was doing something that mattered when I started to feel guilty when I’d miss a run. When I deferred from my training schedule. When I didn’t make time. 

You see, my “action” of running became habit. Running represented more than putting feet to pavement. It became a shift in lifestyle, a conquering of will, a throwing away of “should” and an embracing of “can”.

It’s arduous, demanding, not to mention time-consuming to put a goal of running a marathon out on the table – but totally worth it. It’s rewarding and refreshing to have this kind of personal dream, goal, and commitment in my life.

We all need to run a marathon, metaphorically speaking.

  • 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!”

The best part? As soon as you’ve made the decision to run you “marathon”, you’ve already won. That arduous and overwhelming first step is what separates people who think, from people who do. 

I haven’t crossed the finish line (here’s to hoping I do on Saturday), but my race has already been won. Because really, as most things in life, this has been about the journey, not the destination.

What marathon are you running?

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  1. Matt – Best of luck with your marathon this weekend! You’re ready and you’re going to feel so wonderful when you cross that finish line. I’m still figuring out my own “marathon” but I have a bunch of (let’s call them) half marathons lined up this year: personally developing and trying new things and doing it without the comfort of others always being around me. Why not just sign up for something that you want to do without the safety net of a friend nearby to talk to since you don’t know anyone!  I also am running a half marathon in September so I look forward to your advice, tips, and thoughts after your marathon!! Congratulations :)

    • Thanks so much, Tracy! It sounds like you have a lot of big things on deck for the year ahead. Best of luck with everything – and I look forward to hopefully meeting when you’re in Nashville soon!

  2. i thought you were literally asking us about our marathon we’d like to run.. for me it’s the Great Wall of China marathon. It looks AMAZING. I’ve been getting the marathon fever.. or at least a little tingling since a week ago. It’s always been on my bucket list as this big thing that I have yet to cross. I’m not sure why its on my mind again. Maybe because Joel Runyon is so full of enviable awesome.. whatever it is, I want this to be my 1st marathon.. now the question is when. Good luck! i’m sure you’ll do well.

  3. Good luck with your marathon.  As the saying goes, “The miracle is not that I finished, but that I had the courage to start.”  Run strong & enjoy the experience!

  4. I’m thinking that you’re using a marathon in a metaphorical sense…I think I’d equate it to the book I’ve just started writing. I feel as though I haven’t quite made that total commitment, I’m just playing with it. Perhaps thinking of it like a marathon is a good mindset to adopt. Thank for the thought-provoking post as usual.

  5. Literal “marathon”: Running my first 5K on Cinco de Mayo. I started training for it in February and my body has been fighting me every step of the way.
    Metaphorical “marathon”: Convincing myself that I’m not too young/too inexperienced/too lacking in connections or cash flow to strike out on my own.

    GOOD LUCK this weekend! 

  6. Wonderful post, Matt!
    I love the very truth shown here, it’s not a matter of completing insane challenge, but how the challenges change you into a better person. You have already won my friend, and you are sharing that energy with all of us with each of your posts. That is epic.
    I know you will finish on Saturday. You can do it, even if we are not close, you can count with all of us. :)

  7. There are so many reasons why I love this post, Matt. First off, it reminds me about when I started going to CrossFit as a girl who has never been physical, as in ever. Then, I entered a 40-workout challenge where I was going to the gym for 3-days on, 1 day off, repeat and something “clicked.” It happened similar to what you described, and I was hooked.

    Deciding to do something is the first step, the next one is getting the shoes on and walking out the door. As always, I love how you applied something new (marathon) to something that’s a part of you (building, startups, etc.). Pure beauty, Mr. Chevy.

    And good luck in the race this weekend!

    • Thanks so much, Laura. Personal well being, fitness, and running has without a doubt had a huge impact on every other aspect of my life. It helps me approach my work in a more focused, driven way – it really has been a complete lifestyle shift. I love it!

  8. Good luck, Matt! Rock that marathon! Maybe someday I’ll join you as a marathoner, but for now, I’m focusing on my half. :)

  9. Great Matt, good luck! Running is not my field, can’t share any tangible advice or blabla, enjoy yourself is more important, but still hope you can win or get good result! My marathon? career success, personal brand, and dancing! 

  10. Hey Matt,

    Been by here a few times in the past while. The metaphor you used in this post is brilliant. I tend to write in this manner as well and this one is key. My marathon; my blog. Why? I have to work at it hard and like a marathon it is not my main stay for keeping food on the table. It is a pursuit that interests me and keeps my mind healthy and strong.

    Good luck with your marathon and thanks for sharing your goal. Bravo!