I’m going to run the Eugene Marathon on April 28, 2013. It’s everything and it’s nothing.
Seems like everyone and their mother is running a marathon these days, so really it’s nothing. 26.2 miles is an arbitrary number, a strange line to draw in the sand and run towards. There are a thousand reasons not to run a marathon and I’ve thought of them all. I mean, people poop themselves while running marathons and keep running. I have seen it with my own two (subsequently scarred) eyes. Clearly marathoners are not right in the head.
But it’s everything. 2012 was a good year but also a really tough one. I am choosing to run this particular race to declare that I can rise victorious over anything life chooses to throw at me.
Distance running provides a very relevant metaphor for life. I think that is why I am drawn to the sport and to other runners.
Maybe you can’t understand it unless you’ve pushed your legs and lungs through mile 13, then 14, and then up that long, steep hill of mile 15, then when you think you must stop or you will die, you find it in you to put one foot in front of another for hill and another mile. It hurts and you can quit at any moment but you make a choice to keep going. There is so much beauty despite all the pain though. You can see views of the whole valley at the top of that steep hill, the clouds parting just for a moment to let the sun shine through as though to impart God’s glory to the world. You speed on the downhills, splashing through mud puddles on the trail like you did as a carefree kid. You see sunrises while the rest of the world still sleeps, fog freezing on your hair and gloves, horses cantering along the fence lines of grassy paddocks in the mist.
Isn’t life just like that? Life doubles up and punches you in the gut sometimes and you just KNOW you can’t go on. Many of us don’t. But those who do go on are the ones who also get to experience the beauty that life also has to offer: another vermillion sunrise, a perfectly roasted cup of coffee, laughing at your friend dancing in a gorilla suit. It’s worth it. It’s worth pushing through.
But you can’t go it alone. Just as you need friends and family to make it easier to bear through life’s heartbreaks and challenges, it would be really hard to run the distances alone. The only reason I keep putting one foot in front of another (and signing up for these crazy races) is because I run with a group of friends who encourage me that I can do it and they run the miles with me. Inner strength and physical strength sometimes aren’t enough. We need others to come alongside and encourage us. I’m glad I have a family who taught me resilience through their example, and running friends who show me that I won’t die if I run around the whole town of Corvallis twice before having my morning cup of coffee.
So, I will be running the Eugene Marathon on April 28 because I ran 16 miles two weeks ago and I ran 18 miles yesterday and I’m just gonna keep going. Life is tough but I’m tougher.
And I hereby publicly promise to find a Port-a-Potty rather than keep running, should the need arise. I’m not that crazy, people.