Having said all that, after the hundreds and hundreds of miles and of running, the cross training, and the long weekend runs, you build your capacity for endurance. All of which trains your muscles, and perhaps more importantly, trains your mind to believe that the end is obtainable. If you have the right equipment, and have made the sacrifices necessary and learn to manage your pace, stride, fluids and
fuels properly along the way, success is a given and the finish line is a footnote to what you have accomplished. Ultimately, if the preparation for and management of the race is adequate, the end is assured.
On October 5th, 2007 I ran the Chicago Marathon, my first. Out of approximately 45,000 entrants, nearly 10,000 didn’t start as a result of the weather, fear, or various other reasons. But more startling, another 10,000 (for a total of nearly 20,000 people) did not finish the race they trained for months to run. The weather conditions made for a brutal day. 88 degrees (a record high) and extreme high humidity made it impossible to cool your core temperature down. More than 300 were sent to the hospital and hundreds more were treated in medical tents located throughout the course.
This leaves many to ask how someone can be crazy enough to run a Marathon. And therein lies the wonder of of it all. A Marathon is sort of the “Holy Grail” of running for many runners. Causing all who run to make special accommodations and sacrifices of time, money, diet, and creature comforts to do this one special thing and join the less than 1/10 of 1% who will ever run a Marathon in their lifetime. And yet, even as I say that, we find a special kind of insanity found in a very few runners who train, live, and run “Ultra-Marathons” (anything over 26 miles, but often as much as 100 miles). This special breed has learned to shut off pain receptors so they can push to new levels of body destruction. But I regress, so let me get back to my analogy.
with endurance running, life requires the same thing from us that a marathon does; to endure to the end, without quitting at any point before the finish line, and without cutting corners. And while there always seems to be plenty of obstacles to our progress, these challenges can either block our path or ultimately act as stepping stones to our success. We must therefore plan, and then work with the end result (the goal) in mind.
It is to that end that we start life’s race. First to have the goal of finishing that race, and then we plan and execute with that goal ever on the top of our minds, adapting as necessary, and fighting through the challenges, obstacles, temptations before us, and finally, to finish the race honorably. And, it is to that end that I pray for the vision, and focus, and strength to endure, for myself and for each member of my Family.
Good luck and may God bless you in your Marathon of life! And thanks for reading.