Keep going

This was written in March.

The toughest mile in a marathon is not the first or the last. For me, doubt fogs my mind and my legs burn at mile 18.

At this point, I’ve come so far, nearly 70 percent of the way, but the remaining distance seems further and hillier. This is when I have to pull out every inspirational statement, every ounce of courage and push as hard as I can.

While training for the Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathon, I made several connections to running and serving in the Peace Corps. Sometimes, you want to give up, knowing what awaits you is a warm bed and a decent meal. But to drop out before the finish line is worse than the current pain.

It aches. You want to cry. You do cry. But if you can take one more step, then maybe you can take another. And then another. And another.

I am at month 18 in my service. Another eight months seems daunting, even more challenging than the year and half that I’ve already completed. Yet, home isn’t familiar to me anymore and it seems to have changed so much that I am terrified I won’t belong. Staying is scary but so is leaving.

During the last three and a half months, I’ve had to extract all of my motivation to just get out of bed. I’ve left school crying and devoured books to stop my mind from racing. It will be better tomorrow, I tell myself. When it’s not, I put faith into the next day.

It’s mile 18. My lungs seemed to have collapsed and the voice in my head taunts me, yet I still keep going. In the end, it will be worth it. This moment, more so than the others, will determine the person I become after this experience. For me, there is no other option. Just keep going.

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