May 1, 2013
It all started as a distant goal I shared with my college roommate.
The Vikings had just beaten the Packers for a berth in the NFL playoffs. Spirits were high—and the early-bird registration deadline for the Fargo Marathon was just days away. And so, my former roommate Jared and I put our money where our mouth was and paid the $80 registration fee to run the Fargo Marathon on May 18.
Yes, I paid $80 for four months of pain, agony and wet shoes. Given the hours I’ve logged circling Bismarck, I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on this [insert adjective of choice] decision.
The biggest question I ask myself as I stumble out of bed on a Saturday morning to go run 18 miles is this: What am I gaining from this? Will I cross the finish line a
Training for a marathon has been a sacrifice, no doubt. It was never more evident than when I attempted—notice my word choice—to run 12 miles three days after my son was born. Bad idea.
Each morning I leave my family to go run, I’m missing something—whether it’s quality time with my wife and son, the opportunity to attend daily Mass, or simply extra sleep. Again, what am I gaining?
Let’s start with the obvious: I’ve gained greater physical health. It’s amazing how my definition of what qualifies as a “long run” has changed the past 18 weeks—both according to my brain and to my body.
What else? I’ve realized the gift of health. It’s a gift I need to thank God for every day. Some people don’t even have the ability to walk. Others are dealing with serious illness. God has given me the simple physical ability to run, which is so easy to overlook.
Finally, I’m a stubborn person. For me, marathon training has required a certain amount of stubbornness (some would call it determination)—a resolve to just keep going, regardless of what my mind or body are screaming at me.
But why is it that I can spend three hours running 18 miles at 8 a.m. on a Saturday but find it so easy to skip five minutes of prayer at night? Seems like my “determination” can be misguided. For the last four months, my physical fitness and achieving the ability to run 26.2 miles have been a priority in my life…mostly because I didn’t want to waste my $80.
Don’t get me wrong, training for the marathon has been fun (at times), challenging (often) and personally rewarding (after I regain feeling in my legs). And running a marathon isn’t at all a bad thing. But I know that if I pursue my relationship with Jesus with just
half the energy I’ve poured into this marathon, the rewards will be abundant.
And if I don’t, the potential loss is worth more than $80.
The Diocese of Bismarck extends heartfelt prayers to the victims and families of those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.