Brave is in beginnings and endings.

I have been told I was brave for running an ultra marathon. The truth is, the brave part never even happened during the actual 52.4 mile race. The scariest part for me, the part where I did have to find my brave, was in the hour before I even got to the start line -- it was in the beginning. It was in the hotel room as I was lacing my shoes, pulling my hair up into a ponytail, putting on my hat, checking my watch -- that was when I was finding my brave. Because what I really wanted to do was listen to the voice in my head that told me I couldn't do it. The voice that lied to me and told me I wasn't strong enough to finish the race, so why even bother getting myself ready for something I was going to fail at? I remember my hands shaking as I fixed my hair, tears springing in my eyes as I took one last look at myself in the mirror, eyes wide and uncertain.

It was in the cab ride that took only 10 minutes, but felt like a lifetime where I had to find my brave, because it was in those 10 minutes before the race, I wanted to quit before I even started. I wanted to tell the cab driver: never mind, take me back to my hotel. Instead, I watched the busyness of San Francisco flash by me in a blur while I whispered to myself: you can do this, you can do this, you can do this, over and over. And it was the voice of the cab driver that refocused me as I heard him say: I believe you can do this. You'll win this race. It made me smile. I like to believe in the impossible, but I knew with 100% certainty that I wouldn't be winning any race -- now or ever. But his confidence in me -- hearing that someone believed in me -- reminded me that I had to believe in myself if I was ever going to cross the finish line.

The beginning.

Brave is in beginnings and endings.

The hardest times, the scariest times, happen in the beginnings and endings of things. It's not that the in-betweens aren't filled with their own ups and downs-challenges along the way. Because they are. But it's in beginnings and endings when you find your strength.

I'm surrounded by so many brave women. Women who often don't realize just how inspiring they are, how brave they are in their beginnings and endings, but I see it, and so do the other people in their lives. Mothers. Sisters. Aunts. Grandmas. Cousins. Friends.These are the brave women our girls see, their first heroes. Not a model or movie star or singer.

Thankful my girls have so many examples of brave women in their lives.

The brave women around me have showed me their strength in their beginnings: choosing to go back to school, making decisions to start taking care of themselves physically and emotionally, asking for help with depression, starting new businesses, choosing to adopt a precious child, going back to work after many years off, seeking help for their children when sometimes the hardest thing in the world is to hear that official diagnosis, but that beginning is what is needed to help their precious baby.

And they show it in their endings: making the personal and strong choice to have one child-knowing people will wonder and ask but knowing one is what is best for their family, walking away from abusive relationships, ending friendships that never really were, leaving jobs that weren't meant to be, getting support and walking away from addictions, letting go of anger and hurt-choosing to forgive.

Brave is in beginnings and endings. Brave is in the women all around us.

Nicole Scott writes about her Running Thoughts at My Fit Family.