I started running in 2015, after signing up for my first marathon.

Before this, I had run Atlanta’s Peachtree Road Race for three consecutive years, and the Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk for eight years. Outside of those events, I ran very little. These were traditions I’d latched on to, but I hadn’t yet developed my running habit.  

Growing up, I never considered myself strong, fast or athletic. I sometimes toyed with the idea of playing sports, but never had the passion, interest or guts to sustain the interest. One year, I did show up to high school cheerleading tryouts. I had a little rhythm and thought that was enough.

It wasn’t.

When I got there, the cheerleading coach asked me to do a cartwheel. I’d never done one of those before, but I tried, and my feet flew halfway through the air before my back hit the gymnasium floor.

In that moment, my hopes of joining the team were deflated. The other girls snickered, and I shrugged, brushing it off.

That wasn’t my last time trying something outside of my comfort zone. I’ve always been good at adventure and trying new things, but I haven’t always been good at sticking with it and fighting through resistance.

This theme has trickled through all areas of my life because “how you do anything, is how you do everything.” I’d pick an interest, land a job, start a project, date a guy and get bored or frustrated—and quit.

Completing the marathon was a turning point because for once, I picked something and stuck with it. I stuck it out through six months of training, liquor-free happy hours, and saying “no” to invitations to hang out.

Many of my mornings began at 4:30 a.m. when I’d wake up to train before work. I was tired, yet energized, so I kept going.

And on the day of the run, I pushed through 26.2 miles to complete my first marathon. I ran, walked, jogged and trudged through the hardest physical feat of my life.

I pushed through pouring rain, soreness and uncertainty, and learned the most impactful lesson ever: When I apply myself, believe in myself, tap into a passion and push through resistance – there are no limits to what I can achieve.

I learned lessons during marathon training that continue to propel me through life – especially when things get sticky.

I leaned on these lessons after getting laid off from a job I enjoyed. And again, when I found myself living with a loved one through their schizophrenic episode.

I lean on these lessons every day, from the moment I wake up to the moment I lay myself back down to rest – for I never know when—at any given moment—the next challenge will arise.

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