“Today I met a beast inside me. A beast I haven’t met in a long time. Possibly because this beast stands at the end of the road of your endurance. At the end of your endurance, a place many people don’t visit often, the beast meets you with a smile and says: QUIT!
You can’t do this. You’re not young enough. You’re not strong enough. You’re too heavy. You’re too lazy. You’re too weak.
Why are you doing this? What’s the point? This is too hard. Your stomach is upset. Your legs are too heavy. Don’t kid yourself. This is not for you. If you can’t finish 14km comfortably you can’t do 42km.
This beast is so persuasive. This beast knows me too well. Knows my fears and my limits. And I listened, and I was convinced. I didn’t have one logical argument against him. The beast made total sense. No one can judge me. I tried my best. At kilometer 7, I had no reason to raise my foot and hit it into the ground one more time. Not one time. My stomach was upset, my lungs were out of air. I ran out of reasons to run. This is the rock bottom of my reasons.
My running angel, Fares Eid, was right beside me egging me on, gently pushing with his hand on my back, encouraging, dancing, singing, picking red flowers from the street for me. Doing anything he can. I indulged him, But the reason had to come from within. And there was none.
Except. Quitters never win. Winners never quit. A silly phrase they throw around. But this phrase whispered from behind the beast. If that’s the only reason you have now., If you know you are a winner and winners never quit, then you follow that reason. I moved the beast to the side and stomped my foot one more time. I am a winner, I do not quit!
But he ran beside me still. This is stupid. You don’t have to prove you’re a winner to anyone. If you want to quit, quit. You’ll still be a winner in other things.
On my other side, stronger now: Winners never quit.
Now the three of us are running together. My beast loud, amplified by the pain and hardship from every vital organ in my body. On the other side: a whisper.
Then I thought, I need a reason. I NEED a reason. And I thought of my dad. My dad who raised three powerful daughters before he died at 49. Maybe he knows what I’m doing. I can’t quit in front of him. I’ll run for my dad. I’ll show him how strong I’ve become. I smiled, my step got lighter. The image of my handsome father stood between me and the beast. The whispers were louder now: you can’t quit.
And I thought of my daughter. And suddenly a memory came back so vividly. Early in my pregnancy I was running around the reservoir in Anaheim Hills. I was thinking of quitting and I felt her, I swear I felt her positive spirit flooding me. She told me I can do it. Now my eyes swelled and I felt a sob reaching out from my throat. A huge smile forced itself on my exhausted face. I was crying, sobbing, it was just after kilo10. I’ll do this for my daughter too. She needs to see her mother a winner. I can’t quit.
And then they all showed up: my mother, my brother, my sisters… They all showed up next to me. Now they were all running with me against the beast. I have found my reason, my reasons. I wiped my tears and my runny nose with my sweaty hands. I turned to the beast and screamed in his face:
TO HELL WITH YOU! I’m NOT quitting!
And he disappeared.
I ran the last 4km as if I just woke up. And they all finished with me. More tears in the last 100m. They wiped them off. My reasons and their love.”