Many readers will be consuming these words with the ache of last Monday's marathon still in their bodies. If you are one of them, hopefully you can walk down the stairs facing frontwards by now. A marathon can actually take weeks to recover from, depending on how well we have prepared and how hard we have pushed on the day.
I have two post-marathon reflections. The first is the importance of spending a few moments considering what we have achieved.
Running and finishing a marathon is an amazing accomplishment. Someone said to me recently that it is a huge amount of effort for one day. I had completed close to 100 training sessions in advance of last Monday. That's close to 100 times that I had left my house to make this ambition a reality. My first reflection, therefore, is to celebrate this achievement and the effort it took. We can be all too quick to move immediately on to the next challenge or ambition and forget all the effort that went into making the last one a success.
Celebration and taking stock can be a 10-minute reflection, a nice meal in a restaurant or a three-week holiday from the activity it involved. It is important, though. This achievement will be remembered for years, maybe even decades, to come. A quiet celebration involving you and those who helped you can offer even more reward. I am sure family, friends and maybe even colleagues played a part and made sacrifices for you. Perhaps a few thank-you cards might even be appropriate.
The second reflection is to use this achievement as a platform to realise that big goals and their attainment need not be confined to running marathons. When you think about it, the manner in which you made this achievement possible can be aligned with any goal. If you are one of the 14,000 or more who finished, you have shown how outstanding you can be in committing to achieving a goal. A marathon cannot be bluffed. It takes commit-ment. This is doing what you said you would do, long after the mood you said it in has left you. Big goals need big doses of commitment. You have shown that you have it in spades.
Didn't you commit to it by creating the ambition in the first place, registering, finding or devising a training programme, making the time available and running for months and months in advance? Wasn't some of your running done in very inclement weather conditions? I am sure you probably hit a few obstacles, found solutions and delivered on them. Isn't that the key to success in reaching any big goal?
Realise that any ambitions you might have can be achieved using these same strategies. Whether it is to open a business, increase sales, write a book, learn a language, get a qualification, secure your dream career or walk on the moon, you have shown you have what it takes. That medal should serve as a daily reminder.
Congratulations on last Monday's success, and good luck with your next goal. For sure, you have what it takes.
Gerry Duffy is a motivational speaker and endurance athlete. www.gerryduffyonline.com