Why Success is Like A Marathon


Well, we did it again: my wife Jan and I ran another half-marathon, this time at Virginia Beach, Virginia. This was our third half-marathon, and was by far the most challenging.

For those who may think we’re nuts, you’re probably right. That would be especially true for this race (well, “event” would be more appropriate for us, since we’re not racing against anything but exhaustion), because we didn’t have time to train for it like we did for the previous two we ran. Just as a hint: running 13.1 miles without some serious training is a Bad Idea.

Amazingly enough, my legs didn’t fall apart on me. I was deathly afraid that I’d have a recurrence of the shinsplints I got after we ran this race last year (note: shinsplints are amazingly, incredibly painful), and I’ve also had problems in the past with tendonitis in my left knee.

Jan, however, suffered problems with both knees. She’s been having issues with her left knee on shorter (3 miles or so) runs, and during the race that knee started hurting first, then the right one. And just to let ya know, Jan shrugs off pain that would make me curl up and bawl like a baby, so she was really, seriously hurting, and had to have both knees iced after the finish line.

But the real reason I’m telling you this isn’t to recap our run: it’s to tell you that ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things if they set their minds to it. Jan and I both hated running, but we set ourselves a challenging goal of being able to run half-marathons, and we did it.

The life lesson is one that I’ve applied to my career, setting the challenging goal of leaving my relatively secure and well-paying day job to pursue my dream of being a full-time author. As the saying goes, it’s not the courage it takes to finish something, it’s the courage it takes just to start. And thanks to readers like you, I’ve been able to make that dream come true.

For me, that’s just the start. The other trick is to have the guts and endurance to stick it out like Jan did in this race. I say that because book sales aren’t guaranteed, and even though things have been quite bright thus far, I expect that there are going to be some tough times along the way, because that’s just life. But if I believe that if you stay focused and determined – and don’t give up – you’re going to succeed in the end.


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11 thoughts on “Why Success is Like A Marathon

  • Michelle

    Great article!!! And congrats on getting through the half-marathon!! I hope your wife’s knees are feeling better!!

    I have fulfilled my dream – to be a published author!! And it has only spurred me on to keep going. My novel – Forbidden Love – is part of a trilogy and the other two parts now need a LOT of work!!! I also have a lot of short stories I am going to look over again and get them published.

    I would LOVE to quit my day job and write full time – that is my ultimate dream!! And although I know my fiance would support me 100%, financially it is just not feasible. With his side business (of which I am in charge of shipping & customer service) he is hoping to go into business for himself and quit his own day job and from there, I can then follow suit so I can write full time.

  • LK Watts

    With everything we do we just get better. It’s not the destination as such but the journey, the journey we grow and develop, getting stronger every day.

  • Anju Gattani

    Well said and I couldn’t help but Tweet and FB that one !!
    You’re so right about the hardest part being the start-line. And the marathon continues until the finish line and then it starts all over again!!
    Just wondering… what happens in the process, if you discover you’re writing a series?

    • Michael Hicks Post author

      Anju – not sure what you mean with your question. If you discover you write a series, or if you find yourself writing an extraordinarily long book (in which case you might choose to break it up into two or more volumes), you just keep writing until the story’s told. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Anju Gattani

    I wish the story was told… but just when I think I’ve told one story… another character / story pops up in my head and I find my stories weaving between each other.
    So I’m wondering when the story will end and I can take a break in the marathon to start something new… ๐Ÿ˜€
    Thanks for the inspring blog post! It’s got me thinking….

  • Nicole L Bates

    Great post and one that I can relate to on so many levels. I am a writer, and a distance runner. I find that the two are incredibly complimentary in my life, not only for the determination factor, but the time to process. Whenever I get done with a run I have to hurry to a notebook and jot down all of the ideas that I had. Thanks for sharing!

  • Martin

    The way I see it, at least the human body was made for running in the first place. I say this because after the second hour or so of shuffling along behind someone else in a busy supermarket, my legs ache. At the quiet times I can walk around at a comfortable pace.

    I’ve found that as I’ve got further into my current writing project, I’ve become more confident that I will succeed. I’m having new story ideas more frequently than I was when I started. There’s a buzz of excitement as I realise that I can finish it, even if I don’t have everything I need to finish it yet. I no longer have that shadow of self-doubt slowing me down.

    Now if only I could Marty McFly around the supermarket on a hoverboard during the busy times. ๐Ÿ˜›