In The Heart

As I've mentioned here a few times lately, I recently traveled to Greece to document Terry Cockburn's solo marathon in the birthplace of the marathon. In the heart of Athens, she woke in the pre-dawn hours, not for a medal or fanfare, without support or spectators, but for the simple joy of the work and the beauty of the challenge. She met unexpected obstacles along the way, a planned route that had to be scrapped, brutal hills, high temps, traffic that never yields to the pedestrian, and yet she ran on, continuing to put one foot in front of the other until she reached 26.2.

It's never easy to push ourselves, to step out of what we know and away from what is comfortable to pursue a goal, and I would argue that that is especially true when the goal is seemingly arbitrary and comes without public accolade, when it doesn't "count" for anything "official". It's in these kinds of pursuits that true character shines through, in these moments that a person's real mettle is truly tested. Pride can't carry you- no one is watching. There is nothing but the internal dynamic, the potential dialogue with our inner self-critic when inevitable doubt creeps its way in during a moment of exhaustion, the choices we make about which of the stories we tell ourselves we allow to become truth. 

Terry is an athlete in the truest sense of the word. She is one of the most disciplined and driven and focused people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. She is a runner and a yogi and a teacher and a mother and a wife and a business owner and a writer, and that doesn't even scratch the surface of all that she puts out into the world. Her dedication to this challenge and the mental acuity she brought to the pursuit was fascinating to watch and an honor to be a part of.

Be sure to read more about Terry's run here!

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Nothing like a little yin yoga during a layover to keep things loose...or checking email...the realities of being a business owner...

Getting a sense of the city...and realizing that the marathon route planned from home wasn't going to work...

Miles of walking the hills of Athens in pursuit of a new route...

Game day. The route was still a little shaky, but Terry wasn't. Long before first light, she was ready.

A little dynamic warm-up, and off she went.

Running past the Panathenaic Stadium at first light...

...along the National Garden...

...and into the First Cemetery of Athens...

...and to the Acropolis, through the throngs of tourists that began to gather as the hours passed...

A quiet finish among the crowds in the Plaka...

Who needs a medal when there is gelato and waffles?