I had the opportunity to run the Kiawah Island Marathon in 2006. It was the first time I had really trained hard for a race of that distance. I was 26 years old at the time, so youth was definitely on my side. In my mind I can still see the exact place I stood near the starting line waiting for the gun to go off on a very cold morning. It turned out to be a great race for me as I ran well below the goal time I had come up with, which felt great since so much can go wrong in a marathon. Anyone who has ever run one knows exactly what I mean.

In May of this year, I decided I was going to run another marathon and set a lofty goal of improving my lifetime best time that I had set back in 2006. Although I have run a few other marathons over the past 10 years, I ran those while still training for other things and not fully dedicating myself to the goal of breaking my previous record. Since I loved the challenge of running a faster time 10 years later, I decided to focus only on this race for the next five months. Fortunately, I had some close friends training for this race also, so it made for some great time together during the early morning hours.

Last weekend, it was time to race. In the final weeks leading up to the race, I found myself wondering if I could find a way to go faster than ever before. There was definitely a level of anxiety about how things would turn out. Fortunately, the race went really well. There were several points in the race in which I was absolutely on my limit in terms of dealing with as much pain as I could tolerate and giving as much effort as I could possibly give. Although it was incredibly difficult, the feeling of giving absolutely everything I had was such a great experience. I think all of us can identify with the idea of fully giving ourselves to something in an effort to reach a place that matters to us. We can’t push limits otherwise. Accomplishing simple goals usually don’t mean much to us. In order to meet difficult challenges, we have to be willing to take a risk and then completely dedicate ourselves to the task, knowing that it might not go our way. Therein lies the challenge, are we willing to fully invest in the process of striving for our desired outcome? Pushing limits is never easy or comfortable, which is enough of a deterrent for many people to avoid trying. Has that been you? What limit is there in your life right now that you would love to improve? Think it over and make a commitment to going after it.