Friday, September 19, 2014

A memorable run

I have officially run 10 marathons. However, if you were to ask my family, they may try to tell you that it is actually 11. I was no older than 6, when I watched my dad complete one of his marathons. Inspired by his achievement, my brother got the idea (and I naturally aimlessly followed his every step) to run a marathon in our basement. So, we set out and ran 26 laps around the basement of our house – thus, the first marathon my brother or I ever completed.

In recent weeks I have often been reminded of that memory and that race. It is a story we look back on and laugh at. But, it is also a story that brings a lot of things into focus for me; the desire I have to follow in my parent’s footprints. From that specific story, it is the footprint of running marathons. I recall with great joy and envy, watching my dad gear up for a run. However, I also know I have tried to follow in the footprints of ministry my mom has put down.

This past Sunday as I ran my tenth official marathon, my mom flew up and spent the weekend with me to watch the race. Seeing as how I lived in a different continent for five years, it was virtually impossible for my family to see me run a marathon. Not counting the marathon in our basement, this was the first time she had seen me run. In fact, it was also the first time she had seen me coach. She spent countless hours on the sidelines as a parent of a player, but this was her first time as the parent of a coach. The weekend was filled with conversation and with each passing word it became clear to me how lucky I am to have the parents I have. I feel incredibly blessed, encouraged, and excited about the way in which they live their lives. The passions they have, the purpose that fills their daily actions and the heart of ministry is evident.

My mom came up with the intention of encouraging me during my race. However, I think that throughout the weekend, I gained more encouragement by watching the way in which she is running her race of life.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A few days away.

Last week was filled with distractions that kept me from thinking about the race. I feel as though that has drastically changed this week as the race is on my mind a lot more. Sometimes that can be a good thing, as it forces me to make sure I have everything in order for race day. Yet, at the same time doubts that creep in can be a whirlwind of annoyance. The past few nights I have not slept particularly well as the race enters my mind as I drift off to sleep. Despite some of the things making this week mentally difficult, I find myself getting more and more excited. Truthfully I think some of the excitement is more anxiousness, as I simply want to know how the race will go and whether or not I meet my goals. On the other hand, I simply love to run, and not logging many miles over the past two weeks has been annoying - so I am looking forward to getting out there and being able to run again. 

In continuing with what I did last week, I wanted to re-post a blog I wrote about a previous marathon. This was my third marathon overall, and even though it was my slowest to date, it remains my favorite marathon I have run. It was the most physically painful, emotionally difficult and mentally grueling - yet it still brings back many positive and encouraging memories. Roughly a month before the race a close friend passed away, and the emotions brought on by his passing were overwhelming. The one thing stronger than the hurt, was the love of Christ through the community that surrounded me. The race seemed to symbolize; the community. The joys. The challenges. The perseverance. The encouragement. The friends. The triumph.

I am still so grateful for the role that so many played in making that such a great race. 
Read about the day by clicking here

Just a few more days until the race...

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Reverse distraction

One of the things I truly enjoy about running is the way in which it allows me to escape from everything else. I feel as though when I lace up my shoes and hit the trail, I can block out everything else going on around me. It’s just me, my thoughts, the trail, and the miles to be conquered. It’s a beautiful feeling. It is also a much needed time of rest and solitude in a world that never seems to slow down.
As I am in the middle of my taper period for my next marathon, I have actually found that the place of distractions has been reversed. With a new school year starting, a new soccer season already under way, and plenty to keep me busy every day, I have found that life has kept me distracted from running, rather than running being a distraction from life.
Yesterday I was gearing up for a quick run and was stopped by a student who knows I am running in a few days. The question asked was, ‘Is your mind going crazy thinking about your next race all the time?’ Normally for me, a taper period is when the flood of doubts and mental games begin. However, as I was asked the question, I was actually reminded that my race is only ten days away. With everything else going on, I was amazed to realize that I had in large parts forgotten about the race. 
Therefore, when I went out on my run… all I could think about was the race. Pace, hydration, incline, weather, splits, walls, gu gels, blisters, etc. Logistics of driving, sleeping arrangements, rest, food. “How will this race compare to previous races? Will I be proud with my race? How soon will I recover? Did I train enough? Am I properly tapering?” Then, as soon as I hit the stop button on my watch – the distractions reversed, and I began thinking through all the things that don’t involve running, and running faded off into the caverns of my mind.

One thought I did have while running that I felt like sharing here – was to re-post previous blogs I have written about my previous marathons. As I was mentally comparing and reminiscing about past races, I thought it would be fun to re-read and re-post previous thoughts. Below is what was written after my third marathon, which I ran in 2010 in Basel, Switzerland.

Click here to read the previous post about the race.