Friday, February 21, 2014

The Power of Encouragement

One of the things you hear marathon runners talk about is “the wall”. This is the moment around mile 20 or so when many people reach that critical point where a physical and mental choice is made. The choice revolves around continuing to run, walking, or for some just plain quitting.

I can remember hitting this moment during my fist marathon several years ago.

It was somewhere around mile 22 and after three and a half hours of running. It seemed most of the people around me at this point were walking or doing a little run/walk combo. To say we were running at this point was a bit of stretch.

Oh how I longed for the pain end and to join the comfort of those who were walking.
One cool thing at the Dallas White Rock Marathon is that if you are a first time marathoner you have a different number you wear so that anyone will know you are a first timer.  

Here back at the end of the pack there were several of us first timers.

As my desire to stop was reaching a crescendo, a first timer that was slightly ahead of me had started walking. There on the corner standing alone was a friendly spectator that saw this and shouted, “Hey first timer! Come on! You are almost there and looking good! Don’t start walking! Go for the finish!”

These words were not intended for me. 

The person of intention kept on walking.
 
But for me it made a difference.

Her words right at that moment encouraged me to keep moving and to reach the goal I had spent so many months working towards. I was just four miles from completing my dream to run a marathon and I was not about to stop running now thanks to some kindness that was not even intended for me.

The lesson I learned from this moment is that we can never really know the power of our positive attitude. We may miss the mark with the person we intend to help at the time but may be setting an example unknowingly to help someone else. Part of me also hopes that walker soaked in the encouragement and later crossed the line in triumph.


Don't give up. It just takes a small step to move forward.

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