Before the run, you train. 

Preparing mentally and physically, you begin to gather insight, data, and map the route. You become stronger, exercising muscles you didn’t even know existed.

Then it’s race day. 

The excitement buzzes through you like static electricity and you’re high on the adrenaline rush of starting something new. You begin feeding off the energy of the runners surrounding you and those that came before. 

The race begins and you are alive with anticipation and enthusiasm. Running feels easy; a little breezy and cathartic.

Somewhere along the way you start knocking into people, worrying you’ll trip and fall flat on your face. But you just keep on going. 

Halfway through you start to wonder where the closest bathroom is. Questioning your breakfast choices, anxiety and worry creep in as you contemplate how the bathroom will mess up your timing. 

Deciding not to care, you relieve yourself of worry and thoughts and keep going, shutting out the feeling of the slow burning in your legs and lungs. 

The runner’s high now reinvigorates your senses carrying you many more miles. Taking in the fresh air, birds chirping, and sound of the river nearby, you are so glad you decided to do this.

Then you’re closing in on mile 22 and you want to give up. You’re utterly exhausted. 

Your muscles are slowing down and burning with a pain you can no longer ignore. Your feet are dragging and asking you to please lay down. You begin to wonder why you are running this marathon in the first place. There is no one in the crowd to cheer you on. You feel alone and can’t see the finish line. 

Then you begin to hear voices. Voices of your writing coach, editors, friends and family, reminding you that you’ve come this far and not to give up. Voices of other runners anticipating hearing about your journey. 

You begin to imagine loved ones, strangers, and neighbors waiting for you at the finish line. 

Then you’re wondering about the change your journey will bring. Will it inspire? Motivate others? 

Perhaps it will make a difference for one person. Most importantly, you realize that it will make a difference to you, because you know you did it. You persevered and only peed your pants a little. 

Then you cross the finish line.