(This post was originally written in 2009 and posted on my Vida la Vida blog when I was training for my first marathon)
So this whole running thing is still on and I’m still pumped about it. But I have to confess, it is only getting more difficult. I’m thrilled to be running for Samaritan’s Purse, but the reality of 26.2 miles is slowly setting in. Beforehand, I was able to fit running around my current life schedule, but now I’m adjusting my life around my running schedule. Sacrifice is no longer just an ideal, but now it is a reality…
And thus, I hit my first wall.
In sports that are characterized by endurance, “hitting the wall” is a significant distraction to success. It is an actual biological condition in which the body’s liver and muscles are depleted of glycogen and as a result the athlete faces serious fatigue and loss of energy. In extreme cases the athlete can even experience dizziness or hallucinations. The thing about hitting the wall is that it can be prevented with proper nutrients and training. But even with training, most athletes sill have to overcome hitting the wall in their races. The same can be said for a mental wall.
This past weekend I went to the beach with my friend Nikki and had a great time. There was just one little problem, I had to run 12+ miles Saturday morning. I wasn’t happy about it to say the least. Who in the world wants to get up early, throw on spandex, and run for over 2 hrs on their vacation? (fun yet crucial fact: I hate spandex. I’m in the wrong sport). Some people might like that sort of thing, but I for one enjoy sleeping in and then rolling out to the beach around 10.
My attitude was poor, I slept 20 min. longer than I originally intended, AND I was really close to intentionally over-sleeping and missing the run entirely. I eventually did drag my butt out of bed and hit the road, but it was a struggle. I was entirely focused on me, my exhaustion, and had quite a lovely pity party for myself.
But then it hit me, I was being the very thing that I’m trying to fight by running this marathon. I’m running this thing (1) to raise support and awareness about Aids/HIV, (2) to support an organization that is making a difference in the physical and spiritual lives of those without a voice in our society, and (3) to fight my own self-centered consumerist lifestyle. This race isn’t about me. It’s not about succeeding or failing; it’s about change (no, I’m not campaigning for Obama).
It’s about raising money so an organization can change the lives of those with Aids/HIV. It’s about raising awareness in my immediate circle of family and friends so that they can be changed and as a result they will hopefully be inspired to bring about change in their immediate circles and to our world. And it’s about raising awareness in my own life so that I can change my self-centered, middle-class, consumerist attitude. Call me idealistic, but there are much bigger problems in the world than the ones that I face and complain about (ie. spandex and early mornings while on vacation at the beach. rough life eh?).
I love this quote from SP’s Be The Virus page “Every action, no matter how small, can bring about change.”
Running a marathon is really truly something small. It’s not easy for me, but in the grand scheme of life it’s not a big deal. Many people do it, and most will do it better than me. But it is what I can contribute right now. I hope strongly that this just isn’t a race. I hope that people just don’t give money to a cause and then leave feeling better about themselves. I hope that I don’t just run this and then pat myself on the back. Instead, I hope that this race, although something really small, can serve as an agent of change.
So this weekend, I hit a wall.
I begrudgingly crawled out of bed and put my tennis shoes on. I opened the door to a dark world and I reluctantly put one foot in front of the other – and I wasn’t happy about it. Slowly I continued to move forward, and as the darkness began to fade from the sky it started to fade from my mind as well. It took time, but I eventually got over Wall #1. I had to get over myself first, but I got to the other side and it was sunny there.
I definitely am not looking forward to hitting Wall #2, but hopefully the next wall I hit won’t be a direct result of my self-centered heart. I do have hope that as I run for change, I will be changed throughout the process.