For the past few weeks, my brain has been all over the place. Between training, business, relationships, opportunities, distractions, injuries, etc., focus has been fleeting. With that being said, this blog is a series of scattered thoughts leading into the 2022 New York City Marathon (in just five days). I hope that something below can meet you where you’re at whether you’re running or not!

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Gratitude

The most overwhelming emotion that I’ve experienced so far this week is gratitude. When I think of running this race, my mind goes to the simple fact that I can (I’m able to move my body through space for 26.2 miles and the truth is that some people can’t). When I visualize the race I can’t help but see all of the people who’ve supported and encouraged me along the way, especially my wife who has sacrificed a lot to allow me the time and space to train. When I reflect on the process I see all of the people who helped me raise funds for an amazing cause (you can learn more and donate here) and all of the people who are struggling to navigate the hard things that life has gifted (yes, gifted) them. I’m grateful that I’m here and so excited to race on Sunday (11.06.22).

Not According To Plan

When I mapped out this marathon prep on paper, it looked clean. However, from personal experience and from those that I coach, I know that things don’t ever go according to plan. There were many days where I needed to make changes to the training that was on paper to account for life and unforeseen circumstances. While the training didn’t go as planned, I’m proud to write that I always made adjustments and I never made excuses (there’s a big difference). Just two weeks prior to the race, I tweaked my left hip and it’s been bothering me ever since. I don’t know if I’ll be at full health on race day but it’s not something that I can change. However, I can control my effort and attitude – I’ll be running the race with my best effort and having fun even if when it hurts.

Digging Deep

I’m well aware that the marathon is going to be uncomfortable at times and that’s why I signed up. There’s another person deep within each of us that can do more, give more and be more. This race is a series of opportunities to tap into that other person. There are moments in time that can bring out the best or the worst in us and I’m committed to choosing the best for those that I love. Life is bigger than me and this race is a metaphor for the endurance and character that I hope to grow for the rest of life. If there’s one thing that someone gets from watching me race it’s that we can all do so much more than we think we can. I’ll be wearing a Project Endure shirt with the phrase “do hard things” written across the back in black ink as a reminder for me (and for the runners I pass πŸ˜‚).

Soaking It All In

From what I’ve heard, the New York City Marathon is an experience unlike any other and with that in mind, I’m going to strive for something I’m not always the best at: being present. I won’t be wearing headphones for the race because I want to hear all of the sounds and I’ll have my head on a swivel because I want to see all that the city has to offer. I’ll be focusing on the moment I’m in and not wishing it away for the next; the finish line will come but I’m here for each step.

One Step At A Time

This race is going to take endurance: the willingness to continue on even when there are reasons to stop. I’ll be thinking of all the people who endure each and every day through hardship that they didn’t choose (listen to some here) and I’ll be dedicating steps to everyone who’s invested into me both big and small. Life is a series of small steps (a series of nows) that combine to create something greater. This marathon is a series of steps (training + race) that will lead me to the finish line in Central Park and bring me to the start of whatever’s next. If you’d like to follow along with my steps, my bib number is 18042.

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There are too many amazing quotes to pick just one, so here are a handful that help me endure.

“Man cannot remake himself without suffering, for he is both the marble and the sculptor.”

Alexis Carrell

β€œEvery athlete who has pushed beyond his or her known limits of endurance in the quest for improvement understands these sentiments. There is no experience quite like that of driving yourself to the point of wanting to give up and then not giving up. In that moment of β€œraw reality,” as Mark Allen has called it, when something inside you asks, how bad do you want it?, an inner curtain is drawn open, revealing a part of you that is not seen except in moments of crisis. And when your answer is to keep pushing, you come away from the trial with the kind of self-knowledge and self-respect that can’t be bought.”

Matt Fitzgerald

β€œAnd once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in.”

Haruki Murakami

“Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second.”

William James

Thank you for reading!

Joe Rinaldi

IG: @joearinaldi

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2 comments

  1. Good Luck with the New York Marathon but I would rather drive than run. Stay alert you will be going thru some tough neighborhoods. Uncle Pete

    1. Thanks Uncle Peter! I’ll be sure to keep my head on a swivel and maybe I’ll even run a mile dedicated to you!

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