By Christy Lee
In 2014, I ran the Layton, Utah Marathon with two of my friends. We set a goal to run it in under 4 hours, which would have been a personal record for all of us.
It was raining really hard the morning of the race,but we were still excited! We located the girl that was holding up a sign indicating that she was the 4 hour pacer, so we could stay with her. After the race started, the rain slowed down. We thought this was a blessing, but we soon learned that as soon as the rain stopped, the mosquitoes came out in droves!! There was an aid station that had anticipated this, and they were ready with bug spray. We got sprayed, thinking the problem was solved.
Then it came time for us to cross the Salt Lake. Here is the part that no one warned us about. As soon as we stepped onto the causeway, we were engulfed in mosquitoes!! It wasn’t a swarm! It was a plague!! For the next almost 5 miles, we couldn’t speak, or even open our eyes all the way, because we were running through a solid wall of mosquitoes! The normal talking and encouraging that usually happened during these races was nonexistent. We were silently just trying to get through this one step at a time. We had no idea how long it would last or if it would ever end at all! It was so ridiculous that part of me wanted to laugh because it was so crazy, but most of me wanted to cry because it was so awful. It felt like a hard, pelting, rainstorm only it was all mosquitoes! When we got past the causeway, there were still mosquitoes for a while, but the worst of it was over, and we could breathe again, but we didn’t really feel like talking. We had no words for what we had just experienced.
We never saw the pacer pass us so we were assuming that even through all of that, we were still on track to finish in our projected time. When we realized this, it gave us a boost and we started running faster, thinking that we could still meet our goal. I saw the finish line and, surprisingly, still had a little sprint left in me. I crossed the finish line expecting to be shocked by how fast I was. I was shocked, but not in the way that I thought. Right before I crossed, I saw my time; Four hours and seven minutes! I was so disappointed!! I had just run 26.2 miles and crossed a mosquito infested lake, and I felt like it wasn’t enough! That was my fastest marathon and I still felt like I had failed. Did the pacer pass me when I was distracted with the mosquitoes? Did she decide this wasn’t worth whatever they were paying her and dropped out?
We laughed about the experience on the way home. We decided to still be proud of ourselves for finishing in those difficult circumstances. To this day, I still compare the hard things that happen in my life to that marathon by saying, “At least there were no mosquitoes!” It almost always makes me feel better.
“The Law of Relativity says that your situation is not fundamentally good nor bad until you compare it to something else.” (Mindset Mastery, Trevon and Leslie Householder p. 11) Our own definitions of easy or hard, success or failure, happiness or sadness are all relative. We get to choose what we want to think about each experience that we have, and that will determine how we feel.
No matter how bad you feel that your health is, and how far away your goal seems, it could be worse! If you can walk across the room, that is a blessing. If you can prepare your own meals and shop for food, you are better off than a lot of people. Pay attention and notice the health that you DO have and the things that you CAN do. As you do this, you will feel gratitude. From this place of gratitude, pay attention to impressions that you have. Thoughts will come to your mind about what your next step is to improve your health. As you act on these impressions, you can begin to make small changes that will make a BIG difference over time. Hard things that we experience in our lives are to give us experience. They are to strengthen us and help us to learn and grow. They also teach us to be grateful for the moments when there are no mosquitoes.
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