Training for a Marathon and the Power of Community
We are only three weeks into the New Year and I have seen people toss their new year’s resolutions aside. The signs are all over the place: the couple with the matching warm up suits is gone from the Y, the “salad eaters” have gone back to the Chinese Buffet and,most unfortunately, Bedside Baptist has claimed a large number of would-be worshipers. But not all of us who made resolutions have given up on them. I, for one, am sticking to my guns. I have been physically active for several years and last summer I began training for triathlons, but I had never considered running a full marathon until a friend talked me into joining a running group, Innerstrength, late last fall.
This has been a great experience in perseverance. In the past few weeks I have run under unimaginable conditions. I remember in the past driving to the gym on cold mornings with my car seat heater on high shaking my head in disbelief of the runners who braved sub-freezing weather to be out on a run. “What in the world are these people doing?” I often thought. Now I am one of them. In the past two months I have done a series of firsts: My first run in pouring rain–in the dark–nonetheless, my first run in single-digit temperature, my longest run to date of 13.5 miles (that’s half a marathon already!), and logging over 34 miles in one week. Tomorrow morning I’ll be up at 4:30 and by 5:15 I’ll be ready to run up Percy Warner’s 5.8 mile-loop staring down 3-mile hill as I huff my way up.
But as resolute as I am about completing this marathon, I would not have done most of
these firsts without
I realized, yet again, how the powerful community is in my life. I have become a runner through the eyes of new friends who didn’t know my limitations, my hang ups, my body-image issues (I always thought of myself as a slow, overweight kid). My running friends know me as a runner, and they have helped me grow faster and stronger in my running. Not long ago, I went from being a man who ran, to being a runner. I don’t know when it happened for sure, but it did.