We All Start

Susan Donnelly at the Oak Ridge Half Marathon finish

Last weekend, I shook things up with a road half marathon (plus a few extra miles before and after). 

I started at the end and gradually worked my way up the field.

About 10 miles into it, I caught up with a young woman quietly running a solid pace.

She was one of the few runners without headphones so, I ventured a “Good job!”

She quietly thanked me. It was nice to talk to another runner for a change so I matched her pace and asked if she’d done this before. She said, looking at the road ahead ahead with an excited smile,

“This is my first half marathon - I trained 13 weeks for this!”

And now she was seeing it come together. I smiled too. That feeling is one of the absolute best.

She asked how many half marathons I’d run and I couldn’t remember - they were decades ago - so I shortcut the answer and just said I ran 100 milers.

She laughed, “100 miles - I could never do that!”

As I searched for the right short but profoundly motivating answer, the questions started.

“Do you stop?”

“Do you sleep?”

“Do you eat?”

We chatted for a half mile about aid stations, headlamps and all before it was time for me to get back to pace.

But as I took off, I told her, “This is how I started. 5ks…10ks…marathons… I just kept going further.”

She was where I started. I couldn’t imagine running 100 miles from there either.

I just kept taking bigger and bigger “I bet I can do that” steps....and here I am. 

If you get discouraged looking at someone else's feats and think, “I could never do that,” be fair. 

Bet on yourself.

Because we all start. 

It’s where you take it from there that matters.

Susan DonnellyInspiration