Desiree Linden is an American marathoner and could be the most inspiring runner I have ever known.
In 2017 it appeared she might have peaked.
Instead, in 2018 she became the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon in 33 years, finishing the race in 2 hours 39 minutes 54 seconds.
Linden, a two-time Olympian, placed fourth at the 2017 Boston Marathon and was burned out on the sport. And tired. After three marathons in the previous 14 months: the Olympic Trials (second place), the Olympics (seventh place), and then that fourth at Boston. She didn’t feel like running again until the end of September. Five months off, during which, she said, “I hated everything about running.”
But she wanted to win the Boston Marathon, and she made no secret of that goal.
Her desire to run the course in Boston was the reason she started running marathons in the first place. She has a golden retriever named Boston and had another named Miles who died last year.
So last Monday, she was back on the course in Boston attempting to complete her goal.
But before the race more hurdles, as Linden thought about dropping out as she wasn’t drinking enough fluids and was afraid of getting cramps in her legs. Add a weather report of strong winds and the coldest temperatures in 30 years, this year's Boston Marathon would be even more challenging than usual for her and the rest of the field.
Linden now lives and trains in Northern Michigan and resides closer to the North Pole than the Equator. So the NorEaster that bore down on the course in Boston with its horizontal rain and freezing temperatures is ordinary training weather for many months in the Great Lakes state, but many runners found this climate to be the worst running weather in decades.
Linden's ability to persevere and succeed in exceptionally miserable physical circumstances is remarkable.
Linden's ability to persevere and succeed in exceptionally challenging mental circumstances is remarkable.
To succeed in 2018, Linden had to find a deeper gear to compete.
Her pinned Tweet displays where she finds this deeper gear:
"Some days it just flows and I feel like I’m born to do this, other days it feels like I’m trudging through hell. Every day I make the choice to show up and see what I’ve got, and to try and be better.
My advice: keep showing up.
I don't think any advice can be more profound.
Make a choice to show up and keep showing up.
You might just achieve your goal.
-Marc A. Ross