Endure is one of my favorite words.
If there's one thing that running a marathon has taught me, it's that I can endure. In running and in life. It's the reason people put 13.1 or 26.2 magnets on their cars, or have the numbers tattooed on their body.
The numbers represent the ability to endure, not only a half or full marathon, but the training, hard work and commitment it represents.
With eight weeks left until my second marathon, the word is on my mind often. The workouts are getting longer (14 miles on Saturday) and harder (14 miles of hills on Saturday!) and my ability to endure the physical and mental toll of long runs is being challenged.
The great thing about endurance events is that they don't take special athletic ability to perform. We can all run we were built that way, you know and we all have the ability to improve our endurance.
No, endurance events are all about who can endure physically and mentally and I contend it's the latter that is more important. Marathons test your mental strength, just as much as your physical.
They test your mental fitness, your ability to disassociate from pain and your willingness to talk your body into doing things it doesn't want to do.
Endurance events are also great because you're really not competing against anyone else. It's strictly yourself vs. yourself. Can you get better? Can you beat your best time? Can you be stronger or fitter?
Of course, we all have to endure different things in life. For some, a 5K will be enough of a challenge. For others, there are ultra marathons. The bottom line is to challenge yourself, get healthier and endure.
One fun aspect of being a member of a team training for a half or full marathon is to share the experience with others. For me, it's enjoyable to watch first-time marathoners go through the training process.
They were so excited to complete their first 10-mile training run. Double-digits!
And they're also discovering what I learned during the training for my first marathon: It's not easy.
One teammate was concerned about a toenail that was starting to turn black. Happens all the time, I told her.
It's also great to be motivated by my teammates' energy and excitement of trying something for the first time.
I'm excited for the marathon but also humbled by my experience in June. Like I told one of my teammates it'll be fun before and after. But probably not so fun during.
Reach Jim Silva at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @mission26point2.