Overcoming Obstacles And Fears — A Story of Success
(Note: This was originally posted on my personal website, www.ejameswhite.com in April 2015 and is shared here now in hopes of helping others face their fears and accomplish their goals. -JW)
Prior to 2012, I never dreamed I would ever run a half marathon and definitely not a full marathon (which I did accomplish in 2014). I knew others that ran half marathons, and I admired their accomplishments.
I had always been a casual runner since college, but I would run for up to a couple months and then suddenly miss a few days. Before I knew it, months would go by with no running. Eventually I would start running again, and the cycle would continue like this repeatedly.
Then one day in 2012, I decided to try a 5K. I was instantly hooked on race events. So shortly after, I began to run longer distances. Once I got up to 8 miles, I decided I wasn’t far from running a half marathon, which is 13.1 miles, and I signed up for the Outer Banks Half Marathon.
I think that I did everything right in preparing for this race…..except on race morning. On race morning, I ate a bagel with peanut butter, a banana, and had some coffee. But no other liquids. At the prerace, I didn’t need to use a bathroom (which those that run races will definitely find odd!). And along the course, I did not rehydrate enough. By mile 10, I was on pace to be under 2 hours for the race, but then things started going bad. I was not sure what mile I was on. I had chills in my back. These are signs of dehydration. Towards the end I started sprinting, thinking I was approaching the finish line. And ultimately, this led to my own demise. At mile 13, with one tenth of a mile to go, I lied off the road in grass, passed out temporarily, out of it. I was probably out for just a couple minutes, and what I remember is two people helping me take water. Then I realized that I did not finish the race. I wanted to but was in no shape to walk. These helpers realized I was going to be difficult if they did not “help” me finish. So they tricked me into thinking I finished by helping me walk a short distance and telling me I finished — I believed them!
Next thing I know, I’m on an ambulance, and my family is there too. Oh boy…..what have I done? Then things got scary. I felt tingling in my feet and hands and it was working its way away from limbs to my core. My eyes kept closing. I couldn’t recall my phone number. It was a scary experience, as I thought I was dying.
Fast forward a bit. I survived. I vowed that my racing days were over — never again. That lasted for two days, but then I started feeling like I had unfinished business. And if I did things right, things should go okay. After all, I only had 0.1 miles to go in that race.
In 2013, I ran not one but 3 half marathons, and I have gone on to run a total of 7 half marathons and one marathon. I had a lot of mental obstacles to deal with, especially in the second race. Would I wind up in the hospital again? What if I actually had heart trouble in the first half? Or what if I caused heart damage from the first half marathon? These questions lingered until I finished that second race.
I didn’t give up. I tried again and was more successful. These are lessons we can apply to our lives. Try repeatedly to achieve your goals with tenacity and you will succeed.