Why A Half-Marathon?


Well, there it is. What I trained 13 weeks for. Glimpses of my first half-marathon.

I remember going towards that start line and thinking over and over in my mind, "This is is. This is what I have been training for. This is what the past 13 weeks have been for. All for this." Not to be dramatic, but it was a very surreal thing in a way.

Many days of training I would literally try to imagine what this day would look like. What it would feel like to cross the start line and the finish line. It almost felt like I had been here before because of the amount of anticipating I had done over the previous weeks. But nevertheless, throughout the race I kept reminding myself, "This is really it."

One question I have been asked in the aftermath, and I have even asked myself, is "Are you glad you did it?" I can't emphasize my answer enough. YES. For so many reasons and probably more that I will continue to think of. As adults there really are few things that require as much preparation, determination, and discipline than I have found this training to require. It demanded a change in my routine, a change in my priorities, a change in my thinking. And I loved that. I loved how much it demanded of me, because it gave me the opportunity to show up for myself and grow in my mind and body.

I didn't do this for anyone. I did it for myself.

That is not something we as adults can say about most things that fill our lives with, right? And it doesn't feel selfish one bit. Because I know it made me better.

Here are some of the reasons I decided to do a half-marathon. Admittedly, some of these were my intentions and motivations from day one, while others were developed in the process.

1. The half-marathon gave me the opportunity to practice and demonstrate commitment. 
Something that I find so unique and special about this process is that, yes, completing the half-marathon was the success, but the transformations ALL happened in the training process. I practiced staying true to my commitment, not on race day, but on every single training day. I demonstrated commitment each time I put on my running shoes and hit the trails.

Commitment is something we as human beings aren't always so good at. Actually for 2018, commitment was one of the things we made a focus in the youth group I lead. Why? Because it's a big deal. Not just our commitments to God, but our commitments to people, to jobs, to opportunities. They are all important, because they allow us to show the faithfulness and integrity of God through our lives. I was proud to demonstrate commitment before my students. They weren't the reason I registered, but it kept me mindful of how I was handling the commitment I made to myself.

2. The half-marathon allowed me to build perseverance. 
Perseverance is something we all need in life, but we don't always welcome the type of situations that foster growth in this area. Plainly said, we all want perseverance without doing the work of developing perseverance.

Something I have discovered is, perseverance is perseverance. It doesn't matter what the context, when you persevere through a situation or a spiritual trial or a half-marathon, you grow stronger. So we should do as James 1:2-3 says, and not shrink back from such opportunities, but run towards them. Rejoice in them.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

3. I took on a half-marathon to accomplish something hard.
Do hard things. I think this may be becoming my new life challenge. Listen, everything in our world feels like it is moving towards convenience. Like really. Companies, products, services... churches (uh oh). They are all moving towards making things simpler, faster and more convenient. Which I'm not gonna lie, I appreciate most of the time! But I do find that we often lose something when we opt in for the easiest method.

While I am not saying to stop using Amazon Prime or grocery pick up, I am making the suggestion that we benefit from doing things that are hard, whether that be hard for us or hard for anyone. I knew a half-marathon would be hard for me. Others it may not be so hard, but I had never done it. Beyond my physical ability, I wan't mentally able to imagine the possibility of accomplishing it. "It always seems impossible until it's done," is a common quote, but I experienced the reality of that so much through this process. 13.1 miles seemed impossible... until I did it.

So yea, I think I am starting to challenge myself to do more hard things, but I want to challenge you too. Do something that is hard for you and see how you grow, get stronger, and surprise yourself by what you can do!

4. I did a half-marathon to make myself proud.
As a grown up, we probably have more times we disappoint ourselves than make ourselves proud. As kids, teens, and even college students there are many opportunities for accomplishments, awards, and accumulating accolades that we or our parents parade around with pride. Yea, not so much of that as grown ups. Not that we need pieces of papers, medals or trophies, but there aren't as many opportunities to do something we can take pride in. Of course our kids would be something we can have a boat load of pride in, but something we can feel proud that we accomplished despite difficulty.

Completing a half-marathon was one of those accomplishments for me. To be honest, I didn't need a crowd of friends and family cheering me on and celebrating with me at the finish line to be proud of what I accomplished. I am proud I ran that race and crossed the finish line. But I am probably more proud that I made a commitment, stuck to it, persevered when I didn't feel like showing up, did something I didn't think I could possibly do, and proved to myself I am capable.





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