Thursday, July 24, 2014

Published 9:30 AM by with 1 comment

Before You Can Finish, You Have To Start

Yes, We Rise| Before you can finish, you have to startA few years ago, I accomplished a goal that required more guts than I thought I ever had. You see, I started as a couch potato. I registered for the Chicago Marathon. And within eight months,  I finished a marathon.


I always admired marathoners, and I desired to finish a marathon myself someday. But as a couch potato, I could barely run for 26.2 seconds. Completing 26.2 miles would definitely be a huge mountain to climb.

When my pastor’s wife completed the New York Marathon, the buzz was on. A training team formed for the Chicago Marathon at my church. And this was my opportunity to finally stop dreaming and start doing. Through the shin splints, sore muscles, and break-of-dawn training runs, here are a few things I learned.

Faith without works is dead.

I could dream about completing a marathon and continue making excuses. But I would never successfully finish one until I laced up, followed a training plan, and hit the roads. I learned before any dream is realized, you have to put in some work.

What are you dreaming about that requires action? Maybe you desire to go back to school. Or you want to lose a few pounds. Whatever it is, don’t just sit there. Do something. Give that dream a pulse.

Be inspired by those ahead of you. Be grateful for those around you. Be humbled by those behind you.

Even when our training miles increased, I almost always was the last person in our group. Since I was a run/walker, my pace was considerably slower than my teammates. But I knew in Chicago, out of 40,000 runners, there would be plenty more runners ahead of me. I found comfort knowing there would be other run/walkers around me during the race. But what I didn’t expect were the hundreds of people behind me.

So who’s ahead of you? Identify something about them that inspires you to go further. Who’s around you? Appreciate having them in your life. Who’s behind you? Do what you can to help make a difference in their life. Don’t look down on them. Instead, remember where you came from.

It takes a village to finish a marathon.

As a wife and a mother of  small children, I actually enjoyed my training times. Those long runs in our local Forest Park allowed me to clear my head for a while. But what I truly cherished was my support system. I appreciated my family and friends who assisted with child care during training. I valued my coach for giving our team a successful game plan. And the memory of the rosy cheeked toddler in Chinatown, who braved the Chicago winds to offer high fives, was priceless.

I’d never crossed that finish line without the compassion, encouragement, and support from family, friends, and strangers. Never believe you can do anything totally on your own. Embrace the members of your village and be thankful for your citizenship.

It doesn’t matter when you start. Just finish.

I’m proud to be a member of the back of the pack. I never intended to be fast. And my medal does not symbolize my speed. It symbolizes that I finished.

Yes, We Rise| Before you can finish, you have to start




My journey to Chicago taught me that it is not foolish to dream big. So if you desire to go back to school, do it. Lose those extra pounds. Write that novel. Just take one class at a time. Lose one pound at a time. Write one word at a time. But by all means, finish.

And finish strong.

1 comment:

  1. I can only imagine what you're going through, even though I've had students call me by my first name. But since I'm not yet a doctor, I only get but *so* offended. As a Black man, though, I'd expect you to receive more respect than a Black female prof.

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