Congratulations to all the participants who completed the 35th annual Chicago Marathon this weekend. More than 40,000, including my son-in-law, Steve, ran the 26.2 miles. One of the intriguing aspects of this event is the opportunity to run alongside a range of participants from professional athletes and experienced competitors to first time marathon runners and those with disabilities.

My daughter-in-law, Ellie (Aurelie), participated in a different athletic event in Colorado. She rode 65 one mile laps in a mountain bike race. Ellie came in second place, only ten seconds behind first.

These competitions are grueling. It’s not unusual for competitors to vomit at the end or literally pass out. Their muscles feel achy and fatigued for days afterwards.

The reasons why people put themselves through such demanding tests are varied. They enter to promote awareness for a cause, in honor of a loved one, and to lose weight. Some simply enjoy the competition or want the prize money.

Whether it’s a bake-off, bowling tournament, or talent show, we humans love to compare ourselves to others. We want to know where we stand among the masses.

Mostly, we do it to push ourselves, to prove we can achieve a spectacular goal. We want to surpass our own expectations for ourselves. Later, when life throws us a curve ball, we can reflect on past achievements and know we can catch, outrun, or deflect it. We don’t doubt that we have the strength and ability to overcome great hurdles and reach for and attain the stars.

But yesterday’s winnings are in the past. Today is a new day and an opportunity to set our next goal. Because of some health issues, mine certainly won’t be athletic. I’m considering one I can accomplish from my desk.

What about you?

©2012, Mary K. Doyle

Advertisements