1.13.2009

Marathon Struggle

Several weeks ago, I sat down at the computer determined to register for the marathon. It was the last day that I could sign up before the price was raised, yet again. My fingers hovered over the keyboard, ready to hit 'submit'. I hesitated for a long moment, then slowly shut the laptop. I just couldn't do it.

The marathon is sponsored by PF Chang's. The course is nice and flat, weaves through scenic downtown, and is lined with cheering spectators and live bands. There are finisher's medals, a party that lasts into the night, fame and glory, all that jazz. It's perfect. Except that it's on Sunday. 

Saturday marathons are hard to come by. Most are in Utah, which would be a bit of a trip for me. When I first looked into it, I found a few closer to home, but they're brutal. One requires adapting to elevation, then I'd have to run through mud and hills and February snow. I've read of seasoned marathoners finishing broken and defeated. It's not exactly what I'd pictured for my first attempt. The other is about an hour and a half away. It's uphill for 13 miles, then downhill for the rest of the way. Both uphill and down are extremely punishing on the legs. They sounded so painful, I told myself that my best bet would be to run the PF Chang's race. 

Only, I couldn't make myself register for it. I sat there for months, watching as the fees crept higher and higher. Jared suggested that I was gun shy, more afraid of committing to the race than fearful of breaking the Sabbath. I thought maybe there was something to that.

So one morning, I went for a long run and contemplated it all. I thought about how scary the Saturday marathons are. I thought about the fact that I'm far less likely to complete them, let alone do well. They're much more solitary. No bands. No crowds. No medals. They don't have nearly as much glory. As soon as that word entered my thoughts, the phrase "Let the glory be thine" floated into my head, and in an instant, it became clear to me what I was choosing between. I had been willing to run on a Sunday if it meant that MY goals, MY wishes, MY glory would be accomplished. And this life isn't supposed to be about my will. It didn't matter that I'd kept the Sabbath every other week of my life. It's easy to keep the Sabbath when there's nothing better to do. This time it would involve sacrifice. This time it would be meaningful. 

So I'm running Saturday, January 31st. It's uphill for 13 miles, then downhill for 13, and none of my training thus far has prepared me for it. There is a good chance that I will pay $100 and travel hours away, just to collapse in a heap on the side of the road without crossing the finish line. But I figure that at least this way, I can spend the entire 26.2 miles praying for help and not feel like a hypocrite. And I am no longer ashamed to have my children there, cheering me on. 

I may fail, but I'll fail on a Saturday. And I'm at peace with that. 

{photo via}

26 comments:

Roderick Hansen said...

That's a nice shining moment. I'm glad it's written and will be remembered. Inspiration is a beautiful thing. Proud of you. Unless that makes you feel too glorified :)

Christa Jeanne said...

Props to your decision! I love how you put it - keeping the Sabbath holy is easy when there's not a whole lot at stake. You've set a great example not only for your fam but for all of your loyal fans out here. :)

marcee said...

I am so proud of you! I know that sounds cheesy and it's not what you're after but I know that this was a sacrifice. Now the Sabbath will mean even more to you because you've had to make a true sacrifice that shows your inner commitment.

The Queen said...

Good for you!!!

Shelane said...

i had to go through the same heartwrenching decision making process. only a little worse because my favorite cousin is doing pf chang's half for her 30th birthday. i feel awful ditching the race and the running party.

hey, atleast it got me out of training for a few more months!

SPYGLASS said...

another terriffic example of why you are da bomb!

Brooke in WI said...

Good for you! I've stalked for awhile and I finally have decided to comment. Thank you for being willing to share what is important to you and why.

leslie ruth said...

I understand some of that hesitation. I completed my first marathon back in Oct '07. It had been a goal to do one before I turned 30 but honestly, if my sister (a marathon junkie) hadn't given me the marathon as a birthday gift, I don't know that I would have ever done it.

Trust me, it will be SO worth it. I ran/walked it as planned for most of the race, but ended up walking from Mile 19 to Mile 25. Still, there is nothing that will ever replace that AMAZING feeling of accomplishment as sheer adrenalin carried me through the last 1.2 miles.

I can't wait for you to experience that as well!

LisAway said...

You are awesome. And you have me in tears.

LisAway said...

I'm linking to this post in my sidebar. Please let me know if you'd rather I didn't.

Karen said...

I am going to probably drown in the Chespeake Bay in June so I know all about feeling like you might not accomplish your goal. But I think you'll make it. And you made a good decidion on the day. See...it's all falling into place.

Becky said...

Thanks for being willing to set a good example. It will be worth it.

Nathan & Whitney said...

I have never posted on a blog that I didn't know the person. But this post really touched me! I am in the same boat, searching for a Saturday Marathon and as yet have not found one in my area. Thank you for your example! And good luck on the marathon!! I will be cheering for you from LA!

Spymommy said...

I can only imagine the Lord sitting and waiting patiently while you decided what you were going to do.

If you don't mind, I'm going to use your story as an example for my kids in FHE. Our 11 year old consistantly makes all-star baseball teams and chooses not to play on Sunday (and we let HIM make the choice). I think it will be very inspiring for him to hear about an adult who made the same choice.

And I think He will help carry you up 13 miles of hills. Best of luck!

miggy said...

Bravo. I have a haunch you just might do better than you think...like the principal of tithing. Somehow we do better on the 90% than I would on the 100%.

Stephanie said...

What a great post -- funny how things kind of hit you and you know your answer! It definitely will be a sacrifice but well worth it I'm sure. I'm so impressed that you have done all of this training and are going to accomplish your goal! Way to go!

Susan said...

Lisa's sister here, got to you from her sidebar. I am only trying to do a 1/2 marathon and it's still scary. congrats on CTR-ing, and good luck on the race!

Lauren said...

Wonderful post! Thanks for the insight and commitment. I'll be cheering for the on the 31st from Portland. Good luck.

wideopenspacesplease said...

I love this. It's just like Eric Liddell from Chariots of Fire. You go girl. Even if you don't make it (which you will!) I believe that you will feel God's pleasure.

"When I run I feel His pleasure." - Eric Liddell

Janae said...

If you don't mind, I'm hoping to use your example in my talk tomorrow. This post is beautiful, and it's helped me to learn to stand up for myself as well and to discover what's most important for me. Love you!

hukolb said...

Good for you!!! Why do they have these runs on Sundays anyway! I think that will be my excuse for not running for a long time, well at least until we make it back to Utah:). Good luck and I'll be anxious to hear all about it and get tips for a future run! There's a 10K the day before Easter and it's all I can do to sign up for it, let alone train! We'll see.

Nicole

Em said...

Great post. If I knew you, I'd come cheer you on in person on Saturday the 31st.

But know that via blog, I am.

Isn't inner peace wonderful?

Jenna said...

Just so you know, your story was totally inspired to help me teach my YW's lesson on "Following the Example of Jesus Christ." I hope it's okay if I use it to replace the outdated story in the manual. You'll rock that marathon, I just know it! Cheers!

Jenna

Bebe said...

I really enjoyed your insight into this dilemma. Good decision, and good luck in the race!

JustRandi said...

What a great post! As a fellow marathoner I've struggled with this same dilemma. And I pretty much reached the same conclusion. If I plan to pray for help, I guess it had better be on a Sunday.

Good luck Saturday! You'll do great!

Melissa C said...

Good for you! I wish I could have your strength. It is super hard to find a Saturday Marathon out here in the midwest as well (where I live). This post is spot on! I had been wanting to do Columbus (on a Sunday) to qualify for Boston (which is on a Monday, fortunately), but it would make it oh so sweeter to find an unusual Sat race and still qualify. Thanks for the inspiration. I shouldn't let a marathon be an exception.

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