Now, just look at me.
If I could go back and talk to Younger Me, I would have so much to tell her. I'd try to help her forget there were other kids in the gym, and tell her that it doesn't matter if someone else can do 50 push-ups: If you can do three, be proud of that. Be proud of what you can do—whatever you can do. Comparing yourself to other people just scares you. It makes you feel small and useless, a failure, a loser.
You're none of those things. And one day? You're going to love the way that exercise makes you feel. One day, kiddo, you're going to run a marathon. You're going to run for four hours in the driving rain and you're going to smile (almost) the entire time, because you're having fun. Real fun!
And then you're going to run another marathon. In your home state. On your home turf.
My home turf has taken more of a beating lately than I ever took as a fat kid: Hurricane Sandy has severely damaged and in some places completely decimated the shoreline, wreaking havoc up and down the Jersey coast. My family lives there; my sister's house was without power for 11 days. My brother-in-law's uncle's house looks like it got swallowed in pieces by the earth.
Bruce Springsteen went on TV and played music to raise money to rebuild the town he got his start in, Asbury Park. Now I'm going to run 26.2 miles to do the same thing: Raise money toward the recovery and redevelopment of my home state. I worked hard to be a stronger, healthier person, and now I will use that development toward helping New Jersey bounce back stronger and healthier.
Jersey Strong. Let's do this.