If You Don’t Ask the Question, the Answer Will Always Be No

My hubby and I spent the last two weeks visiting our two oldest sons and their families. We first went to Colorado to attend our grandson’s third birthday party. Apparently, if your grandparents are babysitting on your birthday, doughnuts with “sparkles” and a root beer float are an acceptable breakfast.

Meditations in Motion

We tried to run, we really did, but the breathtaking views from the deck

Meditations in Motion

and the even more breathtaking view on the deck

Meditations in Motion

always made running seem like the less appealing choice. We logged less than 10 miles in Colorado.

Then we traveled to Oregon to visit another son and his wife. We hiked,



Meditations in Motion
Banana slug seen on our hike.



relaxed, and visited the beach.

Meditations in Motion

And had some wonderful food and Oregon wine.

(Hubby and I shared this delicious, but huge breakfast.)

And, again, running took a back seat to family and fun. We logged less than 10 miles in Oregon.

This mileage is not ideal for a runner three-four weeks out from a marathon.

When we got home, there was the usual requisite grocery shopping and laundry, and, of course, we had to catch up with our local grandchildren.

Meditations in Motion

My anxiety about the marathon (which is this Sunday) was starting to build, so I thought I would do a 13-mile training run to allay my fears. If I can get to the half-way point of the marathon, I figure I can always run-walk the rest. And then I crashed and burned on the 13-mile confidence-building run.

I turned to the source of all wisdom and advice (Twitter, of course) for some encouragement and suggestions. Runners on social media are an invariably positive group, quick to share knowledge and inspiration. Many followers went with the “bad rehearsal; good race” theme. Some mentioned the difference between a training run and a race and assured me that the adrenaline generated on race day would surely carry me 26.2 miles.

I appreciated all of the support but still felt extremely uneasy. I even considered bailing on the race, but nonrefundable airline tickets had already been purchased, hotel reservations made, and a car reserved, so I resigned myself to running. Resignation is not the emotion I am used to before a marathon. Excitement or at least nervous anticipation is more typical.

Other than my very first marathon, years ago, I never had second thoughts about simply finishing the race. This time, I had to ask myself “Can I do it? Can I haul this aging body 26.2 miles one more time?” Then I realized – I am asking the question.

Meditations in Motion

In yoga class, I remembered the instructor telling us “If you don’t ask the question, the answer will always be no.” She was saying “How can you know what you are capable of if you don’t attempt difficult things?” Ask yourself the question: What are the possibilities? Then, go find out the answer.

Meditations in Motion

How often do we not achieve a desired outcome because we were afraid to ask the question? Children are not afraid to ask. I can attest to the fact that a 4-year-old can be the most persistent asker in the world. One day, when my grandchildren were staying with me, my 4-year-old grandson Henry must have asked me at least 10 times if we could go to the pool, before I finally, laughingly acquiesced. Why did it take me so long? We had a great time splashing and playing, and he got what he wanted because he was tenacious and he asked (and asked)!

Asking implies that we are responsible for creating our own opportunities in life. We are each in charge of our own happiness and equanimity. Random chance or others’ vagaries do not have to hold us at their mercy. We have a hand in making our desires reality.

Asking takes us out of our comfort zone. It implies a lack of control, which is scary. We don’t want to find out that the answer is no. But…what if the answer is yes? We have to be brave enough to ask the question.


Matthew 7:7 tells us “Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you.” This verse illustrates the need for perseverance, just like Henry showed me. It also demonstrates the need for humble supplication. Arrogance does not ask, but humble self-confidence does.

I used to begin many marathons with a time goal in mind, but that sort of objective isn’t appropriate for this race. Humble self-confidence is my new goal. I just checked the time limit of the race – it’s 7.5 hours. Barring injury, I believe I can do it. I am asking the question. I am running the race.

If asked the question that Paul asks in Galatians, “You were running well. Who hindered you?” I do not want to have to answer “I did. It was me.

What are the questions you are asking yourself?


I am linking up with Clean East Fast Feets for her Week in Review, Shank You Very Much for Global Blogging, Random-osity for The Good, The Random, The Fun, blovedboston for Weekending, Patty, Erika and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run, Char at Trekking Thru, Abounding Grace for Gracefull Tuesday, Running on Happy, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs  for the Coaches’ Corner, and Shelbee on the Edge for Spread the Kindness.












  1. Nice post dear, my grandfather had a quote I’ve never forgotten ” There is no such thing as a stupid question just a stupid answer If you don’t know something ask it’s how we learn new things ” .
    I hope you do well in your marathon dear. ❤️✌️


    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oooh, how could those sweet faces not trump the run? I have been having some of the same concerns about my training this year but I know that I made my choices (yes, sometimes they were made for me) and I will go to the starting line with no regrets. The weather has not been the kind I want to train in and I hate the dreadmill, even though I have had to use it this year. I just can’t do a long run on the torture machine.
    So we go to the starting with “not as many training miles as we would like”. I believe that I have said that before. And I still finished. You got this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no” is one of my favorite quotes. You got this! One way or another you will knock that marathon out of the park. On another note, I think I just found my birthday breakfast from here on out… glad you had a great time with family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the encouragement! To get this particular breakfast, you would have to go to a tiny little diner in Otis, Oregon. It has exactly 5 tables!


  4. I totally get it. Some runners do not. I always put family and friends before running.

    Like this weekend I was supposed to run 10 but I did not.

    I worry about running a half untrained because of age.

    You seem very fit and it is not your first. You will finish. That is more important than time.

    Your issue is exactly when I hesitate to run the NYC marathon in 2019.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow. This is POWERFUL. I am going to post that quote, “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no,” somewhere I can see it. It applies to so much in life — writing (and querying agents and other scary putting-stuff-out-in-the-world operations) as well as running, and anything where one is stretching oneself. As for Sunday’s marathon: I love your approach of humble self-confidence so much I’m stealing it. You got this, Laurie 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Jan. You are exactly right – this does apply to anything that makes us stretch, anything in the scary-but-good category. 🙂


  6. Is this the one in WA? If it is, at least you have much lower humidity to help you deal with it. I do have to ask though — is there an option to drop down to a lesser distance? No shame in that.

    My husband has a tendency to not want to ask. For instance, we are making plans for a trip & he doesn’t want to ask his cousin if we could stay one night with them. Seriously? This isn’t a distant cousin, it’s one that he’s quite close with & we’ve stayed with them quite a few times. I really think he’s being totally silly.

    Anyhoo . . . I’m a cautious person. If you couldn’t tell. And I usually tell people in your situation to think about dropping down (but not out). At least I do if they ask. 🙂 My guess is you’ll be ok because it’s not your first rodeo, but will you feel ok afterward? Will it have been worthwhile? Those are questions only you can answer.

    Good luck no matter what!

    Liked by 1 person

    • This IS the one in WA, and there is no shorter distance. It is a point-to-point through the woods on a rail trail. Seeing the 7.5 hour time limit did ease my mind. I am pretty sure I could walk a marathon in that time. I am going to give it a try!

      And I totally think your hubby should ask his cousin to stay at his place 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, I so feel your thoughts about running the marathon. I “ran” my first marathon last October before my knee surgery, and I felt every thought, every emotion and, in the end, I’m the only person who psyched herself out the day of. BUT, had I not been a novice, I think I would’ve expected that race day would feel different than training days. This is all to say – you’ve got this, and you’re astute enough to know your body and your mind 🙂

    I really loved this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was just thinking about this earlier today. If you don’t ask, the answer is already no. I was thinking about all the things I didn’t dare attempt, and in not doing so, they were a “no”.
    What a wonderful trip you took! Sometimes the backseat is a perfect place for running. The marathon might start to hurt a little sooner than if you’d trained more, but of course you’ve got 26.2 in you. Cheers to race week!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is an incredible post, Laurie. I’m not a runner, but I am taking so many quotes with me as motivation for so many other areas in life. “Asking implies that we are responsible for creating our own opportunities in life.” Oooooh man. Asking can be so scary. Like you said, probably because it implies a sense of something out of our control. But I am very much learning, now as I get older, that very little bad can come of asking. But a lot of good can. This was wonderful to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Such great insight 😉 I assume you don’t regret any of the time spent with your family, right? Then it was time well spent, even if you are a teensy bit anxious about your mileage. Breathe in, breathe out. Maybe thinking of your family can help you through any tough miles you encounter at your race (?).

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Laurie, I so love the title of this post! It really is so important to ask questions. If we ask, the answer might be a no but if we don’t ask the question, the answer will surely always be no. And that is so important to see! Thank you for linking up over at GraceFull Tuesday once again!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I love this post. I hope that you have fun and enjoy the experience of your marathon. You already know you have the drive and determination to get to the finish line one way or the other.

    Liked by 1 person

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