The True Champion Exists in All of Us

By , SparkPeople Blogger
"Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character." T. Alan Armstrong

Photo courtesy of Mike Brennan

In less than 4 days I will be taking on the Chicago Marathon and to be quite frank I am tad nervous and some would say petrified--not that I will NOT finish, but that I am not ready. I have spent the better part of the week reading inspirational stories and quotes from others who have taken on this great journey to push their bodies beyond what many people never have the courage to do. Knowing that I am not alone in my doubts will be a huge factor in helping me to cross the finish line. As my former running coach reminded me a few days ago, "You have done the homework Nancy, now all I have to do is take the final exam."

Hearing this brings me an eerie sense of calm and a great sense of excitement to be running with over 40,000 other runners, including Coach Jen and a dear pal from the Road Runners SparkTeam, Jean.

As I have mentioned in many of my previous blogs, having others to walk this journey with me is what has inspired me to push well beyond the limits of my own comfort. My first running coach told me the following, "Motivation is a gift we give ourselves, whereas inspiration is a gift we give to others." Those words have been such an instrumental part of my life for well over 3 years now. Each time I read how someone has overcome the obstacles in their lives, it only inspires me to do the same.

This past weekend two members of the Road Runners Group SparkTeam, Robin-AKA KASHMIR and Kate-AKA KEAKMAN lived their dream as they ran their first marathon--the Portland Marathon. Following these ladies on the internet was so wonderful and having the support of fellow teammate, Mike AKA KAYAKID as their personal cheerleader and photographer was beyond words. I felt as though I was running with them every step of the way. These ladies went out and did what many of us want to do, but never have the courage to do. GREAT JOB, Robin and Kate! You are MARATHONERS and CHAMPIONS!

Another Road Runner member, Gary, AKA GWBACH ran his second marathon this past weekend as well. Reading his race report is precisely what I needed to read this week. And with his permission he has allowed me to share with you some of his wise words from his race blog. These words have truly helped allay some of my fears and I hope you see the true champion he is.

"Running a marathon is way more than just running 26.2 miles, it is about discovery and learning. It is ok to suffer, just understanding it will not last, it will make you stronger and discovering what you can control, how it effects you, and how you can make it work for you. As an added bonus to this year's hardware, my 20 year old son told me he wants to run next year's marathon with me. How 'bout that? So I am going to start him on a base training plan for the next 3 months and go from there. Oh and did I mention, I will shoot for my under 4 hour mark again next year, or maybe just enjoy a run with my son, or both -- any way you look at I win."

Photo courtesy of Gary

Trust me when I say this journey is so much more than a number on the scale or a size on a tag--it's about connecting with others who have walked or who are willing to walk with you through your own self-doubt. It's about learning to dig in your heels when going gets tough and being able to ask for help. It's about knowing that there is a true champion in all of us.

Have you found yourself inspired by others to take on a challenge you never could see yourself doing weeks, months, or even years ago? Do you have the quality to be a champion?

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