Written by Ann Brennan
There is a theme that runs through most of the posts on Ann’s Running Commentary. Grit. To do what we do, we must have the grit to push through. Whether we are pushing through a marathon, pushing through an injury or just pushing through everyday life, we need grit. Do you have the grit to push through? Probably. But you have to look for it. You have to dig deep and find the guts to take on whatever life throws at you.
In November, as I was struggling through the final miles of the NCR Trail Marathon I whined, I cried, I bitched, but I pushed on. I was in a ridiculous amount of pain. My back was swollen and throbbing. My glutes and hamstrings that had shut down because of the pain were giving me absolutely nothing to work with. I was quite simply done. And the truth is if I could have stepped outside of that moment for long enough I would have told you I was at my weakest point.
But yesterday I realized I must have been at my strongest point mentally. I had the grit to finish that race and that was not a small thing.
This was brought home to be yesterday as I was working the final water stop at the B&A Trail Marathon. We waited to take our water stop down until the very last runner made her way in. We knew we were less than a quarter mile to the finish but everyone of us wanted to be there for this final runner.
As she approached, I walked back towards her and I recognized myself in the look on her face. She was gutted; she was knackered; she was finished. Tears brimmed in her eyes but she would not let them flow. She was determined. She was dead last and had not made the cut off but she would not be stopped. She was going to get to that finish line come hell or high water. She had the grit and the guts it takes to get to that finish line.
When I write it, it doesn’t seem like much. But it is so much. It is everything. When she realized she was dead last, she could have quit. When she began to feel sick to her stomach, she could have quit. There were a thousands of times along that course she could have quit but she didn’t.
It takes one second to quit. One second. But that second is on repeat. There are 21,600 seconds in 6 hours. She had 21,600 opportunities to quit. She had just as many opportunities to push on. And she took those. She had to grit, to push through every one of those seconds. She had the grit to finish.