Tuesday, February 21, 2006

26.2 Miles... are you kidding me?!?!


That was my thought as I saw people continuing on past my scheduled stopping point for the Freescale Half Marathon on Sunday. As I crossed the finish line, I was struck with many thoughts... one of which was, "13.1 miles is plenty for me."

So in case you were not aware, some friends of mine and I ran in the Austin half marathon on Sunday. We had a great time and it is something I highly recommend to anyone who thinks they might be interested in doing it. There is something to be said for incremental training... 5 months ago, there is no way I could have run 13.1 miles; but on Sunday, that is exactly what I did.

We were told on Sunday morning that the weather would not get above freezing the whole day.. so we all dressed accordingly. I think that report was incorrect because it didn't feel quite that cold as we were running. However, standing at the finish line (soaked in sweat) it definitely felt like we just ran with some penguins. I am telling you it was miserable... and add to that sore legs and knees... not cool. But the good part was that we were all miserable together, and no one really complained too much.

I think the thing that has struck me the most in all of this is that the training really was (at least for me) the best part of it all. Not to take away from the feeling I had when I saw the finish line... or the feeling I had when I crossed the finish line... but all of that passed very quickly. The best part of running this race was the training because it lasted 4.5 months. The race was over in 2 hours, and all I could hope to do was meet my finish time goal (cuz I certainly wasn't going to win). But during the training, I developed some great friendships... I saw what my body was capable of doing... I learned a little more about discipline... and the list can go on.

The same is true for the Christian life, is it not? The journey is the joy. God could have saved me and brought me to Heaven in the same blink of an eye. But He has not done that. He has left me here to enjoy Him on the journey. To develop friendships (with Him and with others whom He has created in His image)... to see what He is capable of doing in and through me... to learn a little about discipline... and the list can go on.

This is not meant in any way to diminish the greatness of Heaven. But just as the feeling of finishing the race on Sunday was heightened by the training, so eternity will be so much better because of all that we have seen and done here on earth.

15 comments:

Kirk said...

Congratulations T-Rich!!!

There are so many good lessons in distance running/training. I'm sure we will be reading some of them here later on.

Erin said...

congrats todd!!!!!!!!!! you are an inspiration to us all...way to go!

Kristen Brown said...

Todd, though I said I would never run more than a 5k, you have just made me the slightest bit envious! GREAT JOB on finishing such an amazing feat.

dovie said...

"But just as the feeling of finishing the race on Sunday was heightened by the training, so eternity will be so much better because of all that we have seen and done here on earth."

Brilliant.

knelson said...

Todd - I love your analogy as well. Some great passages in scripture are about Distance and Discipline (sounds like a good lesson title!)- one of my personal favorites:
"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." Heb. 12:1

Troy said...

Great analogy, yes, but your description of the event in which you participated only reinforces my opinion of long distance running - it's just nuts.

Michael & Meg said...

Todd- I am so proud of you!!!! Next, it's a triathlon with me!!! Good job!

I'm so glad you shared what God taught you through it all!!!

Meg

ashley said...

wow - i can't wait to run again. i'm sure the little girl within me wouldn't appreciate it now, but you've inspired me to get back on the road to a half-marathon in a couple of months when this little one has been born...

way to go Todd!

elly said...

As Neil Armstrong told Walter Cronkite in an interview "I believe that the Good Lord gave us a finite number of heartbeats and I'm damned if I'm going to use up mine running up and down a street." (Sorry - that was his d- word)

elly said...

Oh yeah - great job Todd!!!!! :)

Anonymous said...

The thing is... I can totally see Todd saying "26.2 Miles... are you crazy?!?!" only it being "26.2 Miles... are you kidding me?!?!?"

Todd, I personally am glad you did not run a Marathon! :)

Todd Richards said...

Just for you Anonymous... you know me very well, apparently.

And I took precautions to ensure that I would not "run a marathon."

Amy said...

What an inspiration!

Chris said...

T-Rich,

I could not agree with you more. One of the coolest parts of living a God-filled life are the daily walks with Him that uprise into a journey.

The joy is definitely in the journey...at least that's what we optimists would suggest.

Kim Berry said...

If marathons really are a parallel to the Christian life, I am destined to punt the whole thing in a couple weeks...and pick it up again in January...