Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fortitude And Running Marathons

I am working on a post about Sunday's race.  Life has caught up to me, and I've had a ton of obligations since returning from our weekend trip.  I don't want to rush the entry.  But it's a good story with a good ending...so stay tuned!  In the meantime, I've been thinking alot about what I learned about marathons on Sunday, and I wanted to share. 

I learned this quote in high school and fell in love with it:

 "Did you not call this a glorious expedition? And wherefore was it glorious? Not because the way was smooth and placid as a southern sea, but because it was full of dangers and terror; because at every new incident your fortitude was to be called forth and your courage exhibited; because danger and death surrounded it, and these you were to brave and overcome. For this was it a glorious, for this was it an honourable undertaking."  (emphasis added)
--Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Something about those words struck me all of those years ago.  Now that I am a marathon runner, I feel those words reverberating in my soul every single time I push myself to the limit.  It is an incredible feeling.  Then I looked up the definition of fortitude: 1: strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage.  How aptly this describes marathon running to me, especially the race on Sunday!  As the heat and hills were taking their toll on me, how wonderful it was to find solace in these words.  Though my body was weary, my mind was committed to what I had to do.  How amazing to discover this well of strength and courage inside of me! 

Here is what I know about marathons after having run twenty-two of them.  Each marathon is a uniquely different experience.  Yes, some are easy.  Some are very tough.  Some are crowded and frustrating and poorly organized.  Some are full of music and spectators and joyful energy.  Some are about who I meet along the way to chat with, and some are about the pleasant solitude.  Some are once-in-a-lifetime moments, and some are forgettable and mundane.  Sometimes they turn out just like I would have planned, and sometimes I look back and I'm glad they didn't turn out at all like I had planned!  I encourage anyone who is thinking about running a marathon to just give it a chance.  You may find your own soul-searching process awaits you!  

Flowers from my boy at the finish line!  Thank goodness for the park along the marathon course!


  1. Okay, I'm going to steal that quote and use it during my next race. WOW! I remember reading "Frankenstein" but I do not remember that quote! Great stuff!

    And the picture is precious! What a sweet kid!

  2. Did I mention that you said it perfectly? I meant to include that in the first comment.

  3. Great post, as usual. ...Who needs a finisher's medal if your very own sweet child is there with flowers?? I'd take that over a medal any day!! Can't wait to hear your recap! :D

  4. Love your post, Katie! I love that quote. It's the perfect quote to describe the feeling I have after finishing my first marathon!! I'm still kind of on an endorphin high :) I look forward to your post describing your race.
    What a sweet picture...love the flowers. That is adorable!

  5. Jane, thank you for your comments, and isn't it neat where we can gain running inspiration? Who knew?!?! Dana and Shannon, you are right about the flowers. I was SO glad that the children spent the morning running around the park and having a good time. And I LOVE their flowers! I get alot of them now that it is spring.