[This is part III of The Purpose of the Marathon series. You can read the articles The Point of the Marathon and More on The Purpose of the Marathon first, then continue with part III. Keep an open mindset while reading, as it is a series and there is absolutely a purpose to the design and content of this series]
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So my post about The Purpose of the Marathon ruffled a few feathers. IT should! If you participate in races or events in life and are barely able to do it, you’ve missed the point. Life and its challenges, particularly those you sign up for, are not meant to be easy. You’re not supposed to barely finish and at the slowest pace possible.
The purpose of any challenge is to get yourself to grow! Through proper mental and physical preparation you are to grow, acquire new skills, better decision making (thinking), and increase in ability and endurance! BEFORE you actually do the event.
The event/race itself is the test.
It is a test to see if you figured out just how to rise to living life at a higher level.
The thing about long distance runners (and the majority of professional athletes) is that they decided to live life at a higher level and train themselves to be able to do so. And they do this training daily.
So yes, I intentionally wanted to clarify that the whole purpose and reasoning and creation for the half marathon, full marathon and ultra-marathon is for people who have already acquired (and put in the real training for) this higher level of living. That purpose is for these folks to have that test and ever increasing in difficulty challenge for their minds and bodies.
If you still didn’t get it – the purpose is not to sign up just to see if you can finish.
The point is to already be in the best tip top shape you can possibly be in at this point in your athletic career, be at the peak of your training program, and apply everything you can muster within yourself to perform that race to the best of your ability.
That is a big difference!
The real athlete understands this, respects this and thrives on this concept of living life at a higher level. The highly successful person (often in great physical shape) is one who decides to live life at a higher level in as many aspects of life as they can figure out how to.
While nobody is perfect, this is a life-long ‘game’/challenge. To learn and figure out how you can live life at the highest level possible in regards to your health, finances, relationships, career, fitness level, intelligence and so on.
Yes, we see very wealthy people who maybe have yet to learn the health or relationship (family) aspect. We see professional athletes fail to figure out how to manage that money or be a great family member. We see people with great relationships who haven’t mastered their health or finances or careers.
The concept of living life at a higher level is that one does strive towards this continuous learning and growing in these areas of life.
By the end of your life – if you’ve learned to rise up and manage these avenues for living well – that is success.
Not living at one extreme or the other in these categories but figuring out how to wisely balance them all, and then getting underneath and raising your life up to a higher quality of living. That is – requiring the most out of yourself than you can, daily, in every area of life.
This means respecting yourself. Who you are now and who you can become. It means respecting those who have already decided to live life at a higher level in these various categories. It means deciding to raise the bar for yourself and work on learning and climbing up to reach that bar so that you can toss it upwards again.
But too many people don’t get this. Or they like being complacent or lazy. They enjoy sugar coating (being fed lies just so they can temporarily feel better and taking the easy route). They want to feel good about everything and expect everything to be handed to them, including the opportunities that others have busted their butts off to receive and experience. (Including that of the marathon).
Yes, the marathon is an opportunity for high level athletes to test their athletic ability – not a given right for any average Joe to simply participate in. Participating in a marathon is a earned opportunity, not an entitlement!
You’ve got to earn your way up in life.
It takes time, energy, effort. It requires good decision making, discipline, and focus. Success will require you to give everything you currently are so that you can become who you are capable of being.
The question is – who will you decide to be?
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