It was November 1st, 2015. I woke up at 4am, ate, dressed, grabbed my gear and headed out the door. It was dark and the only movement outside was either people getting home from hanging out all night or those on their way to work.
I hopped on the train to get into the city and saw people dressed similarly to me. A head nod acknowledging each other and back to our thoughts. I arrive in the city and follow the foot traffic to the NYC Public Library on 5th avenue and 42nd street. Thousands of people lined up waiting to get on buses to our next destination. We hop on; 2 stops down, 1 to go.
As we cross the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, we all sit up and can see our next stop. We pull up, and again, thousands of us pour out and proceed to our individual areas. As I laid down in my little area, I closed my eyes and began to visualize what I was about to do. Step by step, moment by moment, I looked deep into my mind and saw myself completing my task at hand. As i opened my eyes, it was about that time to begin the journey to my next and final destination.
Early on, everything was nice and easy and just flowing nicely. There was no struggle, no fretting, nothing to really worry about. It was just me and my focus to get to where I needed to be. As time passed and I got further along, I could feel a little uneasiness creep in, but nothing I couldn’t control. My focus was still sharp and I kept going. There came a point along the latter part of the route where my mind and body became discombobulated. My mind started to drift and thoughts of stopping started to creep in. My body was exhausted and was slowly starting to betray me. There was a moment where I began to question if this journey was even worth it. Why am I doing this? Why SHOULD i do this? What’s the point? For a brief moment, these negative thoughts began to try to take hold of my mind and body.
I pulled to the side, stopped, and regrouped. I took Some deep breaths, and refocused my mind. In that moment, clarity returned. While my body was still hurting, I regained my mental focus and that allowed me to pull together and continue. As I saw my destination in sight, all the trials and tribulations of my journey went away. I was overcome by joy and a deep sense of accomplishment for not quitting and not letting difficulties get in the way of my goal.
Completing the NYC Marathon was one of the most grueling, yet satisfying accomplishments in my life. When I crossed the finish line, I understood why it had to be tough, why it had to be hard, and why my mind needed to be challenged. I crossed that finish line with the belief that there is nothing that can get in the way of something I want to accomplish.
Just like the marathon, there will be difficult times raising my daughter. The obstacles will come in many forms and at any given time. The key, like the marathon, is to understand that all this will strengthen the father-daughter bond. If I do it right, she’ll rely on our connection to overcome and break through life’s challenges.
Get your running shoes ready baby girl, you and daddy are going to cross that finish line together. Let’s just cross it sooner rather than later. It’s gonna be tough going 26.2 when I’m 62.2.