I don’t want to drag this out, but instead of merely journaling thoughts on my most recent marathon experience, I’m going to journal via this blog. It will help me understand the rightful illustrations in this experience, as well as (for good and bad) give you some insight into my psyche. I don’t anticipate that these will be orderly, mostly random. In fact, that is observation #1…
- Randomness – Running long distance is not that different of a mental exercise that longer seasons of prayer. Your mind can wonder, be redirected and focused, all the while knowing there is a very real reality to what you’re doing.
- Bubbles – I’ve gotta get this one outta my head. Who sat around and thought, “Hey, let’s take bubbles that are made of soap, and blow them in the faces of runners so their eyes can burn?” Maybe the little kids and their mommies thought this was a cute idea, but its implementation seriously lacking consideration. I had violent bubble thoughts (confession).
- Rest is NOT overrated – This was my worst marathon run by far. My body started producing salt way too early, and I knew that I was in trouble for the long haul. My first 13 miles were solid at a 1 hr / 45 min pace (my goal was a 3.5hr marathon). But I was feeling way too much, way too early. I had had really solid 19 and 22 mile runs in the previous month, but nothing could prepare me for the week heading into the race: 1) Jan had emergency surgery; 2) UBC was dealing with a major property sale negotiation that demanded several late meetings; 3) I traveled the day before the race with responsibilities at the massive expo (ran for Team Volkswagen). Bottom line, I was tired and no single night’s rest was going to fix that.
- Letting the right things suffer – I’m very competitive, probably more with myself than with others. However, there was a real peace as I began to have to walk around mile 18 at different intervals. I’ve never had to walk like that. But I decided before that moment that the right things had suffered this week, and it was the run. I began praying for my family and church more in those miles, though I had earlier as I knew John Mueller would be preaching. I then thought of common grace blessings like a weekend to unplug and some Chicago pizza (Giordano’s this time) to put down in a few hours. I was resigned to let goals go and simply finish. While it certainly isn’t an accurate corollary, there was an illustration in it that began with, “What does it profit a man…”. I needed to focus that week on my wife, home, church…kinda like every other week. It’s just that this particular week amped up the focus demanded.
I’ll have more later this week. I don’t know if you want to read anymore of this or not. I suppose some of it will come up in sermon illustrations here and there. I know I prayed that God be glorified in the run, and, like life, the lessons we learn are not from a singular event but the process of running (training, races, and recovery).