“Always be yourself unless you can be a dinosaur,

then always be a dinosaur.”


     I work as a Substitute Educational Assistant in the city schools where I live. Whenever I report for work I’ll say “Good Morning” to the people I pass on the way to the classroom. And just about everyone I encounter will respond with, “Who Are You Today?” They want to know who I’m replacing. And it’s always fun to tell them I’m Betty, Susan, or Phyllis – whatever the case may be.

     Most of my assignments have been with Special Needs Children. I’m suppose to be helping them. But the truth is they are the real teachers. I’m talking about lessons in courage, confidence, and commitment – all the things that make a great athlete. So let’s take that same question, “Who Are You Today?” and apply it to running in a marathon race.

“I Yam What I Yam.”

Popeye The Sailor Man


     Popeye got it right when he made this statement. The most important part of any race starts long before you even lace up your running shoes. Even more important than eating spinach to build strong muscles is knowing that what you believe is what you become. You have to take charge of that little voice inside your head. Teach it to say, “I am strong. I am powerful. I can do this. I am a winner.”


“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with dirty feet.”

Mahatma Gandhi, lawyer, politician and activist


     Sadly, there will never be a shortage of critics. People will be jealous that you’re even attempting to take on the challenge of running 26.2 miles. And they will be more than happy to tell you why you shouldn’t even try. These people are not your friends. Your real friends will say,”Yes you can.” and they will be there cheering you on every step of the way.


“What I am looking for is not out there, it is in me.”

Helen Keller, author


You can learn a lot about winning from a spider. Yes, I said spider. And the spider I’m talking about is The Itsy Bitsy Spider from the nursery rhyme. Remember every time the rain washed him out of the water spout, he made a comeback. So if you run a less than perfect race, sign up and try again. Never leave home without your inner spider.


“Everything you tell yourself matters.

It can feel like a punch or a hug – your choice.”



     The biggest race we’re all part of is the human race. Before leaving the starting line, “Who are you today?” is a great question to ask yourself first thing in the morning. At the end of the day, asking, “Who were you today?” is an even better question. I hope you can answer, My mission was peace and love. I did my best. I had a great time. If I fell short, tomorrow is another day. I will try again.