Believe in Yourself

(March 21, 2016)

Today is the six year anniversary since doing the ING (now Publix) Marathon in honor of my 할머니 (grandma). I raised $1000 for American Cancer Society and ran the marathon in her remembrance as she passed away in 2009. Her spirit of determination was with me at the race because despite only training up to 6 miles prior to the marathon, I ended up running 22 miles of the 26.1 mile course.

My grandma was strong having fought a battle against breast, lung, and skin cancer, until she passed. I know she would be proud of me if she was alive today. I think about her often as I now live and teach in Korea. I don’t recommend anyone ever training so little to prepare for a race. It was also my first time running outside. But by the grace of God, I finished the race without any injuries or cramps.

The reason why I only ran 22 of the 26.1 miles is that I was the second to last runner out of 18,000 people. Yes, you read that correctly. So as they were picking up the cones towards the end of the race, I hopped onto the race van because I didn’t want to get lost in Atlanta. I was determined to run through that finish line. So around the 24 mile marker, another young lady and I ran the rest of the course by foot.

Believe in yourself, even when the odds are against you.

The odds were against me but I didn’t let that stop me — not enough training and some rain could’ve made me say “I’ll just take the half marathon route,” but I literally ran as far as my two little feet could take me. During the race, I imagined my grandmother being on the sidelines cheering me on with a smile on her face and a poster in her hands. That motivated me to keep going. I told God during the race “Just one step at a time.” Not losing faith during the hardest physical thing I’ve endured helped me surpass my fears of getting injured or giving up.

What obstacles are you facing? How have the odds stacked up against you? With my marathon experience, I’ve learned the race was 10% physical and 90% mental; others may calculate that differently, but this mindset and perspective helped me. I believe the same outlook can be used to look at our lives — 10% is our physical circumstances, our environment and 90% is our attitude.

Finish the race you’ve started. Don’t give up yet. You’re almost there. Have faith and remember “Just one step at a time.”

Anything is possible as long as you believe — Grace Lee
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