I remember the exact day and precise moment I threw worry out the window. It was Sunday, October 27, 2013. I was twelve miles into the 38th Marine Corps Marathon when my quad cramped up. My muscle formed a knot the size of a fist and protruded through my running pants. The pain and the visual were unlike anything I’ve ever experienced; enough to send me into panic.
In an instant, a million thoughts came crashing into my head. I thought about the ramifications of not finishing the race: I’d be defeated individually and in purpose; I’d be letting down my team and everyone that supported us throughout our journey; the time, effort and training leading up to this moment would be in vain; and I wouldn’t be able to give the middle finger to lung cancer for stealing away my mother and grandmother.
I began to cry and went into what is best described as hyperventilation—something I had never experienced. I literally couldn’t breathe! One of my teammates was trying to massage the knot out of my leg and I was gasping for breath when my inner voice of reason spoke. It said, “April, you are panicking. Will this get you across that finish line? Pull it together and let’s go!” Almost immediately I calmed down and began to breathe. As soon as I calmed down, a fellow marathoner saw that I had a leg cramp and offered me some Ben-gay. My team and I went on to complete the Marine Corps Marathon. 26.2!!!
Completing that marathon is one of the greatest accomplishments of my life, to date. It changed me in so many positive ways. One of the things that changed is I no longer worry about anything. Not worrying is not to be confused with not caring. But when faced with adversity we need to seek solutions and, I learned first hand on that marathon route, worrying contributes nothing to problem solving. The old adage goes, “If you are not part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.” Worrying is counter productive. As we know all too well, there are some situations and obstacles in life that are beyond our control. Worrying about things we have absolutely no ability to affect is insane.
I invite you to join me in throwing worry out the window. Doing so will help you gain clarity on solving the issues within your control and develop a better attitude towards the issues you can’t control. The power is yours! Seize it!
A big thanks to Team Hail Mary for helping me get through one of my greatest accomplishments (Nisa, Denise, Chris and Ajani). Good luck to all the marathoners taking on the 39th Marine Corps Marathon this weekend!