When I started running in 2011 I already had a dream in mind, a destination to reach, goal to achieve, a mountain to climb. For the better part of 4 years, the goal of Boston captured me, kept me focused pressing onward. I always had something to look forward to in each run because I had not reached it yet, which brought a certain excitement because I was in the present chasing after, the ending still left yet to be written. After qualifying for Boston I asked myself what next? I dared to qualify for the NYC Marathon in the same year, with a time requirement 12 minutes faster than Boston. Just 8 months after qualifying for Boston with a time of 3:02:21, I ran a 2:49:15 and qualified for NYC.
I asked myself again, "now what?" I decided my next goal would be to qualify for the NYC Half Marathon, with a time requirement of 1:21:00. After completing the Boston marathon this year, I took time to recover then get back into training for the San Jose Rock'n'Roll Half. The closer I got to the race, the more certain I felt that I would achieve it. Perhaps it was because I had achieved the Boston and NYC Full Marathons that I had confidence that I could do this. It was so uplifting to have my girlfriend by my side, cheering me on at each mile marker. Her love and support was more than enough to power me through what would be one of the toughest races of my life.
In the midst of the pain I felt as I pushed myself each mile, I could hear my mother's voice in the miles asking me "What does the Bible say you are?" Without hesitation I replied, "I am the head, not the tail, above only, not beneath. God has not given me the spirit of fear, but the power of love and a sound me." Suddenly I was a child again, believing ahead of evidence, despite the evidence. I remembered my brother Raffy, as I looked down and saw the shoes he had gifted me. "Be present," he beseeched me. "Remember why you are doing this. Remember what really matters." I remembered my father's riddles, his perplexing questions that stretched my mind and expanded my understanding. I was drifting through time, going back into the broken places to make them strong.
I could feel it in the very first stride, I could see the future before I crossed the finish. In a way it was like deja vu. That didn't make it less painful and challenging. Still, crossing that line at 1:20:32, 28 seconds under the cut off, I was joyful that I had achieved another challenging goal. As the joy settled into a peaceful calm, I began reflecting on it all. I had now capped off the last Elite goal, qualifying for the Elite NYC Half Marathon. I now understood years and years ago what my mother said to me when she quoted scriptures saying, "Perseverance must finish it's work in you so that you are mature and complete, not lacking anything...labor into rest."
What has always brought the most fulfillment and joy has always been the journey, the present moment of running. Each time we run, we are the ones who determine the quality of our experience. There is a joy when I am fully present and in movement. I savor the moments I wake up and run on an open road, an empty track, a mountain trail, even a treadmill. I love the moment of being in the zone, running through my thoughts and connecting with my inner most being. I love the runs that are easy as much as the ones that are arduous and burn my lungs. I love to run, and that is what keeps me running. I will raise the bar, set higher goals, but always keep in mind that running itself, is the reward. It is love, in motion. Run for my life, you better believe it.