I never understood what running a marathon had to with raising money for charity. I felt it was a convenient partnership laid upon terrific marketing.
Nevertheless, When I signed up for a charity marathon in April benefiting parents of special needs children, I thought I would be doing something for others. Sure, I figured I would also motivate myself to finally get in great shape and push my boundaries, but I was already familiar with the cause and I knew I could not walk away from the opportunity to help.
I took the leap. I’d figure out the miles, and the money would figure itself out.
I had begun to train for the race sometime towards the end of the summer. I’ve been running on and off for almost two years and had been working out pretty consistently since then, so I felt I could quickly adapt to the mileage. But, as any real runner can attest to, training was never going to be that easy. I grew frustrated and ultimately did not keep up with the schedule I had laid out for myself. I had time, I thought.
On November 30th, Paula and I were blessed with a beautiful baby girl. After the joy, came the expected frustration of adapting to life with a new born.
I finally got back to training about a week ago. With even more time off under my belt, I figured getting back on track would be just as difficult, if not considerably more.
But that was not the case.
On the first run after Ava was born, I *crushed* it. I settled into a slightly challenging pace for over 3 miles and before I knew it, I was gliding through my eight mile. I fought through pain like I never had before. I felt different, mentally.
I don't know about you, but when I run, I tend to daydream- slipping in and out of an array of subconscious short stories.
It was not the first time I imagined crossing the finish line. How I might feel in that moment, how glorious it must be to see the finish line after 13 grueling miles. I pictured my wife, and child, waiting for me on the other side of threshold. With an influx of motivation, I kept pushing the pace.
Suddenly, the parallel crystalized.
We run to train our minds to overcome obstacles. Mentally, we doubt ourselves: why did I sign up for this thing? How am I going to get through 13 miles when I'm struggling to bang out 8? How long can I endure the nagging abdominal pain? We search for these answers, despite the rhetorical nature by which the questions bubble to the surface.
As the horizon of life expands, one begins to realize that in fact, the obstacles we set for ourselves are nothing in comparison to those we did not choose. For we may rise to the occasion to satisfy our own doubts, but what about when the task is thrust upon us? As the unknown grows, so does the difficulty of the climb. One may see the finish line after 13 miles, but what if there were no finish line at all?
Running is a game of growth. One hopes to make incremental progress on the path to their goals, much like the parents of special needs children. The difference is, however, the real runners never get to take their shoes off. The real runners power through adversity without glancing at the metrics on their running watch.
We run to honor these men and women, because they understand that finish lines are as fictitious as the stories we tell ourselves to get by.
We run to honor these men and women.
Please donate to the great cause this Holiday season. So many of our brothers and sisters depend on our charity for what we may take for granted. Thank you.