I decided last fall that I wanted to run a half marathon. Now, this is somewhat laughable because (a) other than the 5k I ran a few years ago I had not run more than a mile without stopping since then , (b) I really had no idea how to go from zero to 13.1 in just a few months and (c) running half marathons is for runners and I was not a runner.
So I...actually we....registered (hubby is running the full marathon, the nut) for the Mardi Gras marathon on March 4 and there it was. My goal in black and white. And paid in full. I was committed.
God put two precious friends in my life after we moved here and one of them is a runner (the other one says she only runs if someone is chasing her and to call the police if we ever see her running). See, my runner friend....she can legitimately call herself a runner. A full marathon and 4 half marathons under her belt. So since she was also signed up to run the March 4 half, and because I'm such a good friend, I tricked her. Into training me. I casually asked her one day if she wanted to run with me and she said sure, great! She had no idea what she was in for.
I didn't make it a half mile before I had to stop, gasping for breath and, doubled over from a cramp, cried out my confession, "I'm sorry! I lied! I'm not a runner! I need help! Call an ambulance or get a defibrillator something! Then check me into a psych ward! I'm crazy for thinking I can do this!"
My sweet friend just looked at me, apparently forgiving the trickery, and assured me that I was not crazy, I could do it, I would do it, and we would work on it together.
We started out slow...we would run a mile, then walk a bit, then run another mile....and so on. Then one day we ran three miles. Without stopping, That was huge for me. I was so excited until I realized that my ultimate goal was to run more than four times that distance. I told her again I'd never do it and I'd just sit on the curb and wait for the men in white coats to take me away. She shushed me up, saying again that I would and could and blah blah blah...
Then we started our long runs. We ran five miles one weekend. Then six. Then seven. Then eight. Then I lost a toenail. As I bandaged my bruised, throbbing toe with a Hello Kitty band-aid and lamented the fact that my newly pedicured toenail was going in the trash can I realized that I had hit two milestones.
.... the longest run I'd ever run or ever dreamed I could run and....
I could now legitimately call myself a runner.
A few things that get me through my long runs now are, ironically, the same things that get me through life.
I pray. A lot. I pray before I run and I pray while I run. I hide scripture in my heart and call it to mind when I need to.
When my feet feel heavy and like they don't want to take another step: He will make my feet like the feet of a deer. Ps. 18:3
When I feel like all my energy is drained and I have nothing else to give: But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary. Is. 40:31
When my goal to finish strong seems unattainable and I just want to give up and quit: ...let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Heb. 12:1-2
I've always heard people say that life is not a sprint, it's a marathon. When I'm on these long runs and I'm pondering that truth, I also recognize that, like our journey through this life, it's so much easier with a friend. A friend who supports you, believes in you...
and runs alongside you.