Runner by Design
People often ask me why I run marathons. The honest answer is … I don’t know. The simplest explanation is that I have an internal compulsion to run, to push my limits, to persevere and finish the race. It’s just something that I have to do. Quite frankly, running hurts. It is painful. It tests both the body and the spirit. There are times I have pushed my health to dangerous limits for the satisfaction of crossing the finish line. But the reward of exceeding my own personal challenge is what drives me to set the bar higher the next time.
Physically, preparation involves lots of healthy fuel for the body (including seafood and veggies) and continued training and practice. My father inspired me to run in the worst weather conditions because his theory was, “If you can survive in this, you will do fine in anything better.” I continue to heed his advice to continue my training regimen and also to keep his winning attitude and spirit alive. His wisdom has served me well—the marathons which I previously considered “ultimate” runs are now my training runs for the longer races. I am currently training for the Javelina 100 in Scottsdale, Arizona in October and will be running several shorter marathons this year to prepare including a 26 mile run in Colorado, a 31 mile run in San Antonio and a 50 mile run in New Hampshire.
Mental preparation for marathons is a different story. I just prepare to feel pain because I know it is inevitable. For the shorter races, the pain comes quickly but also leaves quickly. For long races, endurance is the key as the pain comes in waves. I know I’m going to have to fight through it. The only way to get through pain is to experience it—this is true for anything in life.
But for all of the careful preparations I make before each marathon, I do not take credit for this internal compulsion within me to run or for the challenges I’ve successfully overcome… this competitive spirit within me to win was all God’s design. He has created each and every one of us as unique individuals with very special gifts. We all need to be tuned in to the gifts He has blessed us with and use them for His glory.
Life in itself is a marathon, and to survive we must prepare physically, mentally and spiritually. We must endure the pain that comes unexpectedly and weather the worst conditions. But we do not do this in vain because Jesus Christ has conquered sin and when we walk (run!) with him, we do so in victory.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we are imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).