A Letter to Myself After My First Marathon

Dear Me,

I’m writing to you because you just crossed the finish line of your first marathon, and I never want you to forget this feeling.

I’m writing because even the best memories fade eventually. Not all at once, or even suddenly, but ever so slightly, day by day. The details fall away, and you’re left with a feeling.

I want to preserve this feeling so you can look back and channel it when you need it most. You have proven that you are strong and determined, but even the toughest people need reminders of their own strength at times.

Right now, you feel powerful and invincible. You took on a challenge that most people wouldn’t even consider trying, and you conquered it. You found the will to run at odd hours of the morning, in torrential downpours, and freezing temperatures. You became more disciplined and dedicated than ever before.

You changed your lifestyle, your priorities, and your mindset. You committed to an ambitious goal and persevered to the end. Right now, in this moment, you feel capable of anything you set your mind to achieving.

I want you to remember what it’s like to feel resilient in the face of adversity, to feel calm in the midst of chaos, and to feel confident in the realm of uncertainty.

I want you to remember pushing yourself beyond your past limitations, enduring pain and discomfort, and relentlessly pursuing your goal.

I want you to remember the moments of triumph at the top of every hill and the end of each mile, knowing that you were overcoming every obstacle in your path.

I want you to remember how you felt when you caught the first glimpse of the finish line, when the cheers of the crowd renewed your strength, when the tears welled up and the chills came over you, and you knew you were mere moments away from that medal.

I want you to remember the dazed and dizzying moments that followed, when you hit 26.2 miles and suddenly shared a newfound camaraderie with other runners that you didn’t quite understand just yet.

Just last year, a marathon seemed impossible. Today, you’re a marathoner.

I want you to remember this feeling the next time you are faced with an overwhelming predicament or unforeseen setback. I want you to remember this feeling whenever you think to yourself, “I could never do that.” I want you to remember this feeling in those quiet moments when your anxiety gets the best of you.

When you find yourself hesitating to try something new, I want you to remember this feeling and go for it. When you encounter someone else who is working hard to reach a goal, I want you to remember this feeling and offer words of encouragement. When you take on your next challenge (and you will), I want you to remember this feeling and give it everything you have.

I want you to tap into this feeling whenever you are afraid, or discouraged, or pessimistic. I want you to draw strength from this feeling whenever you are belittled, or disrespected, or unappreciated. I want you to summon this feeling and shield yourself from self-doubt and negativity.

I want you to remember the blood, sweat, and tears that led up to this feeling and acknowledge that the best accomplishments in life require a lot of hard work behind the scenes.

I want you to remember the friends who ran alongside you and lifted you up when you needed them most, the onlookers who cheered for you on the sidelines, the coaches who bestowed their wisdom and made your success their priority, and the loved ones who supported you and understood the importance of this goal – for they helped make this feeling possible.

I want you to remember how loved you are, because none of us truly accomplishes anything alone.

Years from now, you may not remember your start wave, your ranking, your step count, or even your finish time – but none of that will matter.

I want you to remember this feeling.

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