This originally ran as a devo on whillschurch.org.
Amy ran in the Race for a Reason Half Marathon this past weekend. That’s 13.1 miles for those of you scoring at home. This is her 5th half marathon. She ended up finishing 6th in her age division. I’m incredibly proud of her and happy for her.
On a normal race, I’d have the 3 kiddos and our job is to meet her as often as we can along the race, giving her encouragement. This race – I followed her…on my bike. That’s right. My bike. It was great. I could ride alongside her from mile 6 onward.
I’d never been able to do that before. Even when she trained and took her long runs, somebody had to kinda stay with the kiddos. But this time I got the behind the scenes tour.
Allow me to state the obvious about 13.1 miles. It’s a long way to run. The physical aspect alone intimidates me. The mental aspect – it’s boring as heck. I mean…right foot, pain, left foot, pain, right foot, pain, left foot, thirst. Rinse and repeat forever.
I kept talking to Amy and pointing out stuff. Trying to just keep her encouraged because you know — 13.1 miles is a long way to run.
I am crazy proud of Amy. I enjoyed chasing her on my bike for 13 miles. But after this I think I’m pretty convinced that I am NOT running 13.1 miles. I fairly convinced my body wouldn’t make it. I’m entirely sure my mind wouldn’t.
Then again…who knows. Maybe. Who am I kidding?
Amy’s been trying to talk me into running one with her for a long time. I’m guessing she will continue to try to talk me into it. Here is her theory…
It’s more mental than physical. You just have to be able to put in around 8 or 9 miles, adrenaline and determination will take care of the rest. She says that it is more important to have the mental make up to grind through perceived walls. You have to be able to push through.
I’ll take her word on the half-marathon but I think she is on to something in the spiritual realm. There are times when you just have to grind it out. The real depth and growth of a person happens in the everyday routine, putting one foot in front of another. No parades, no songs, no magic. Just the grind of putting miles underneath your feet.
Oswald Chambers said it this way…
The test of a man’s religious life and character is not what he does in the exceptional moments of life, but what he does in the ordinary times, when there is nothing tremendous or exciting on.
The real training of a half marathon happens on those long runs – 8, 9, 10 mile runs. Those boring, long runs when no one is there. The discipline and guts to just keep putting one foot in front of another.
The real training of spiritual depth happens on those long days, when no one is watching. When no one is keeping score and there is no audience. The discipline of keeping one foot in front of another.
And it always help to have a running partner with you.
Keep grinding through it. That’s where real spiritual maturity is found.
Maybe I will run a half….one day.