The messages on her Facebook page announced it even before she did. My friend, Belinda, had qualified for Boston. Finally. She had tried numerous times. This was No. 7 or No. 8. Some marathons were close. Others were far off.
Ah, but Sunday in Chicago she did it. She got her Boston Marathon qualifying time. Her “brass ring” as she called it to her cyber community.
It’s so simple to be excited for her. Once you start running, especially endurance events, you appreciate how difficult obtaining an outcome-based goal is. Gearing up for a time on the clock is motivating, frustrating and at times heart-breaking.
What has inspired me most about Belinda is not in her obtaining her goal but in watching her tenacity, her ability to keep showing up even when she continuously failed to reach her goal.
Time and again, she started a training plan. Time and again she stepped up to the starting line on race day, ready to open herself up to the opportunity that laid ahead of her for 26.2 miles, not knowing exactly where it would take her.
Belinda had the courage to keep showing up. And she had the belief that eventually, she would end up where she wanted to be — in Boston in April for another race.
As I basked in celebrating my cyberfriend’s success, I had the opportunity to interview another women of athletic achievement, Cindy Miller. The professional golfer and teaching pro won the LPGA’s national teacher of the year honor.
The oldest woman in that third season, Cindy said she wanted to do the show because she knew she needed to get better. See, if she was going to win a tournament on the Legends Tour, she had to practice the pressure:
I knew in my heart that if I was coming down [to] the last hole and needed to make par to win, I would choke. I would try too hard. I would not be in the present moment. I knew I needed to experience the pressure that would surely come with trying to win a tour nament. The experience helped me learn to focus and concen trate better. It helped me learn to believe in myself.
Rarely do athletes at any level offer such self-reflexive moments. She knew where she was at in her present moment. She had an opportunity present itself to help her get to where she wants to go. And, whether she wins a Legends Tour tournament or not, she is a better golfer, a better teacher, and a different version of herself for taking the opportunity.
Both Belinda and Cindy offer me inspiration. They remind me of the importance of showing up, of taking opportunities, of aspiring toward goals, toward future visions of yourself, while embracing the spot you exist in this moment.