The one where I talk about running a marathon.

As many of you know, I am endeavoring to run a marathon this Sunday. This was never something I wanted to do. A few years ago, I thought a half marathon was crazy. And here I am, about to run farther than I ever have before.

I have never been an athlete. I played sports growing up (soccer, volleyball, tennis) but I did them very poorly. In fact, my freshman volleyball coach actually told me that she wished she had made cuts the year I played. I was genuinely terrible.

So running was something I always fell back on to keep in shape, largely because it took the least amount of coordination. But I never really liked it. Even two years ago, when I trained and finished my first half marathon, the only runner’s high I ever experienced was in being elated just to have stopped running.

More recently, there was a time in my life that I felt stalled, like I wasn’t moving forward. I lived with my parents, wasn’t pleased with my career, my relationship status and a multitude of other things. I was unhappy. But I started running in response to my dissatisfaction, because sometimes it was the only thing that made me feel better.

And that’s when I first understood the concept of a runner’s high.

After that, running became a metaphor in my life for moving forward. Even when I felt like my life wasn’t going anywhere, running helped me propel myself forward. Literally.

I’m not running 26.2 miles this weekend to lose weight or to beat the clock. I am running a marathon because it was something I never thought I would do. More specifically, something I never could do.

Through running, I found that it was possible for me to do things I previously thought were impossible. I could get faster. I could run farther. I could be stronger.

I was never an athlete, and won’t ever be. But I now have the mentality of an athlete.

For me, running is a constant reminder that I can always get better. At anything.

Running is just a quantitative reminder that success is possible.

How are you choosing to move forward?

Guest Pep Talk (Autumn Jernigan): Keep Moving Forward

I like to collect quotes. I actually have 9 journals full of them. I have quotes for all occasions and I really can carry on an entire conversation composed of quotes.

My favorite quotes come from my favorite person: Walt Disney.

Did you know that Walt Disney never graduated from High School? And yet he created the second most recognized symbol in the world (after Coca-Cola)? As well as the first cartoon with sound. The first cartoon movie with color. The first full length animated movie. The first theme park (not to be confused with an amusement park). The first steel roller coaster. The first audio animatronic.

He said such great things like “If you can dream it, you can do it.” And “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”

My favorite quote is this: “Around here however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things because we’re curious. And curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

My favorite part about this quote is that it was Walt Disney’s truth.

If I’m honest, I have a tendency to look back. To dwell on what was or what might have been. To base my present with what’s happened in the past. To not believe that things will get better because of what’s happened before.

It’s hard, because your life may not be what you expected, or it can totally suck, or there’s something you want to change and that’s why you’re participating in NoExNo. But you’re not alone. We’re here with you, fighting alongside you. And someday, you can look back and see that you were strong enough to endure this.

Walt Disney had his share of hard knocks too. He lived through the Great Depression, both World Wars. All the money he made he put back into his company, and for most of his life was flat broke. And yet, through it all, he really lived by what he said, he kept moving forward.

Did you know that before he created Mickey Mouse, he was making cartoons with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit? But because he didn’t have the know-how he needed, he signed a contract with a loophole. A loophole that allowed the manager to take it away, even though Walt himself had written, created and drawn all of the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit shorts. But, he didn’t give up. It was on the train from his New York meeting that he lost Oswald that he drew Mickey Mouse.

Did you know that the bank wouldn’t give Disney a loan for Disneyland? They thought it was going to fail. And on opening day it did. The toilets didn’t flush, there was no running water, ALL of the rides broke down and it was so hot that the asphalt melted and women got their high heels stuck in it. But today, it’s the second tourist destination in the world. Second only to Walt Disney World.

And I think about what one man accomplished, without a college degree, with all of the trouble that he met up with, and I think to myself that if he can do it, I can do. He had lots of reasons to give up, lots of excuses he could make, but he didn’t. And if he didn’t, then I won’t, because my excuses aren’t near as good as his would have been.

As this new week dawns, I will remember this. I will not make excuses and I will not give up, no matter how much I would like to. I will Keep Moving Forward. What about you?