I said I wanted to do one marathon in my life.

In a week and a half, I will be running my 10th.

I do so for many reasons. I want to feel alive. I mean fully alive, and the marathon takes me on virtually every emotion known. I also learn some of life’s most valuable lessons and am a better person because of it. There are gifts that you have to hunt down along the 26.2 mile venture. I have applied them in my life, and they have proven to be gems. Also, I have had the honor of passing them along as well, allowing others to have better experiences.

There is also the flip side. It is very difficult and quite frankly, I am not good at it. Probably not even average. I experience severe pain, suffering and emotional upheaval to the Nth degree. In the 10 years of doing this event, other than my wife, 2 people have come to support me. Lisa’s parents came at the end of the 2nd marathon, stayed about 20 seconds and left. No friends ever came. No family ever came. No one. It was “too far” to drive or “too long” to wait. One day a year, it was too much to ask despite my support for them. Ci la vie I guess. This has toughened me up, but also still brings a touch of sorrow.

The marathon is a unique event. If you have done one, you know from where I speak. If not, no words can convey the experience.

As the great writer and philosopher George Sheehan said, “Mile 20 is the half way point.” This is so true. Often those last 6 miles or so are excruciatingly painful. Yet, these are the ones where the gold is found. I get to dig deeply to discover who I truly am, minus the fake labels. I am not Dr. Orman, nor David the Systema teacher or the Businessman. I am just David. . . sore, tired, “what the #%*& am I doing running this event” David. At that moment, I get to experience me as one without identify, yet fully identified. I am all alone, despite 20,000 other people. Yet in this aloneness, I find peace. Continuing along the path of peace, I find oneness, realizing I am not, nor ever will be, alone.

Perhaps the biggest realization comes when exhaustion has so overtaken my body, I am deeply desiring quitting. Of course, I know I won’t. I can’t. Within this struggle, Truth emerges. Pure unadulterated truth, free from stories, excuses or self limiting beliefs. I realize how strong I am. . . how strong we as people, really are.

Truth tells me I waste time, believing the stories I tell myself are actually accurate. Or thinking that my self-imposed labels are authentic. Not even close. It is just drama, entertaining theater instead of pure honesty. In these moments of suffering, I know exactly how to live my life. All the so-called mysteries are solved at these times. It takes me 26.2 miles on a Sunday, coupled with the 300 or so training miles, to serve as a reminder. Like I said, I cannot quit. My Soul won’t let me. Here It has a voice. Here it has the controls and steers me in the most beautiful directions imaginable.

Historically, the finish line has been a bitter/sweet moment. A step before crossing, I cannot get there soon enough. A step afterwards, I wishing I would have taken more time. The events often seems too long, but the moments along the route often seem too short. It is the ultimate paradox, gift wrapped in irony.

I will run the 2014 Disney Marathon. Afterwards, I will bask in the glow of finishing and do my best to live the beautiful lessons it teaches me. Along the route, I will pretend I can’t finish. Maybe even be convinced for a while. Then, I will fuel up, smile a bit or shed a tear or 2, and undoubtedly discover a soon-to-be-unearthed gem along the route. I will certainly go out of my way to find someone who needs help. It is my mission, or at least part of it.

Of course, I do not know what will happen this year, nor do I want to know. I want to experience it. I want to soak in every second. I want to treasure it.

Mostly, I want to live it throughout the rest of the year.

Author's Bio: 

David Orman is the author of the popular blog, http://theordinarybuddha.wordpress.com