It’s hard to say no.

I’m getting better with practice. As the oldest of five sisters, I have been taking care of others for as long as I can remember. I’m really good at it. Not so good, however, at taking care of myself and looking out for my own needs.

My decision to run a marathon was the product of something that I realized a few months ago. It suddenly dawned on me that I could continue being on call for others for the rest of my life, always waiting for my chance to build my own life and family and career. And that if I did this, my time would never come. Nobody was going to put me first.

It has been a tough transition since I started training. When people are used to seeing you jump at their beaconing call, it’s hard for them to understand why that can no longer happen. But I’m excited about the changes. I feel like this is the first time in my life that I’m doing exactly what I want and making no apologies for it. I’m looking forward to exploring my full potential.

I’d like my future kids to someday be proud that their mother followed her dreams, and in turn feel inspired to follow theirs. Running is hard even with support. Without support, it is a sheer force of will. Like something beautiful breaking through rocky terrain.

There is a lot to read out there on how to physically complete a marathon. But so much of it for me is mental. Believing that my body is capable of running that far. That I deserve to have this accomplishment. Training when I’m supposed to instead of adjusting to the schedules of those around me. Eating well even when others don’t. It gets lonely sometimes.

Keeping my eyes on the goal ahead helps me focus. Remembering that just as nobody can share my pain, nobody else will share my glory when I finally cross that finish line. I tell myself that there’s no turning back. And that in life there is only one way I can possibly go out now: BLAZING.