Saturday, March 6, 2010

I'm running a marathon tomorrow

I'm running a marathon tomorrow. It will be my first one. I say "first" because I have never done it before, not because I plan on doing another one. Another marathon may be attempted someday, but, for now, tomorrow is all about the Napa Valley Marathon. I ran cross country in high school, and had an eleven year career as a high school coach for distance runners, so distance running is not foreign to me. I even like it. But throughout all of my time around running, marathons were not part of my thought process, until last year.

In a session on "Awakening Your Creativity" by Les Christie at the National Youth Workers Convention in Los Angeles, Les challenged us to take something on our bucket list and do it. No more waiting. And so, on my little index card I wrote down "run a marathon," and on the back of the card wrote down all the reasons why I couldn't do it. Then I tore up that little card and all the excuses and made a vow to take the first step toward accomplishing that goal upon returning home.

That week I entered the Napa Valley Marathon. It was the beginning of October and I figured 5 months of training would get me where I needed to be so that I could just finish the 26.2 mile race. My training started off great, hit a rough spot in November, was incredible in December and January and then kind of fizzled in February as everyone in our household battled colds. But I was able to finish an 18.6 mile run in February and I didn't collapse.

Tomorrow, March 7, I will step to the starting line and begin a journey through the beautiful Napa Valley that will cover 26.2 miles and last around five hours. It will be a big moment for me, and I am still considering the kind of impact it will have. When I cross that finish line I will have completed something incredibly difficult, and I imagine that how I view my own suffering will change. But mostly, I will be realizing how I could not have done it without the great crowd of people I have in my life supporting me and encouraging me. I'll be looking for my wife, and my children, my mom and my in-laws, and all of my friends.

And I will thank God that He has made this journey one that I do not have to complete alone.

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