Thursday, June 12, 2008

TESTING MY LIMITS

“They will suffer, cry and feel pain in 31 flavors. They will also laugh, forge friendships and find a deeper understanding of themselves and their limits.” — Benjamin Romano

That quote is from a Seattle Times story on the Cascade Crest 100. A trail ultrarun of 100 miles through the Cascade Mountain range. You can read the complete article, which follows one of the runners throughout the race, here: Seattle Times Story you’ll feel like you have experienced the race yourself after you read the article.

In just over two weeks I’ll be testing my limits by running my first marathon since high school. Back in the day, I was a runner. In my small town, my friends and I ran everywhere. We would hike up the side of a heavily forested mountain just to see who was the fastest to run, slide, and/or fall down it. That’s how we spent our Saturday mornings. On Sundays we would go for long, fast-paced runs in the country. Sometimes taking shortcuts through muddy fields just to get some off-road time and occasionally leaving a shoe or two behind in the muck. The rest of the week was practice as usual. But we loved every minute of it.

That is ancient history, though. Today, three decades later, I can hardly classify what I do as running. More like hobbling along. Maybe a jog. So why am I thinking about doing a marathon? Before Honu I was worried that 13.1 miles was way too far for me, and it was only half a marathon. But I did it.

I just looked on the Kona Marathon Web site. I haven’t signed up yet so I was seeing how much it costs, the deadlines, etc. Then I started having second thoughts. Maybe it is too far for me. I’m not ready for this yet. My leg won’t hold out. All the same thoughts I had before Lavaman and before Honu.

I started thinking up excuses why I shouldn’t run it. My leg is still hurting with every step I run. Expensive! yay. I can just tell everyone I couldn’t afford it. That way I can back out gracefully. But that was exactly why I did tell everyone I was running it, so I couldn’t back out. So once I couldn’t come up with an excuse not to run it I made a list of why I should or shouldn’t do the race:

I shouldn’t do it because
1) it’s a long way
2) I’m going to be slow
3) it’s a really, really long way
4) my calf muscle is still hurting
5) I’ll be testing my limits: what if I don’t like what I discover?


I should do the race because
1) I am healthy and able, and as the Bible says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
2) it’ll test my limits and I’ll like what I discover
3) I love a challenge
4) I can wear my new racing shoes
5) My high school running hero (Frank Shorter) ran in the half marathon last year. Maybe he’ll do it again this year and I’ll get to see him in person. Maybe even say “Hey, Frank! Howzit?”

26.2 miles is a long way. It’s 46,112 yards. That’s roughly the same number of running strides it’ll take to run the race. That’s a lot of strides. But you know what? Every step gets you closer to the finish line. As Bruce told me before Honu: “Just keep moving forward.” One of these days running is bound to get easier, right? Either my legs will simply fall off or they’ll loosen up and take off. Just push through the pain for now and see what happens.

“The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.” it says in Ecclesiastes. Time and chance happens to them all. Hmm. Maybe I can win this thing ...

4 comments:

BreeWee said...

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

YOU totally can!

Oh man, that is reason enough! Randy I will totally be on the mountain bike cheering all of you on! I would run it with you but it's only 7 days post Japan so I think I'll cheer! I can be your personal photographer :) Video too!

Thanks for sharing your lane today... oh Pat totally killed me in a 25 fly race, it was ugly!

AND where are you and Karen for church these days??? We are at Calvary or Stone church, I miss my old church, can I try yours???? I am inviting myself :)

Night!

BreeWee said...

OH, Randy...
check this out...
it has blogs of Christians all listed by state/country... kinda cool

http://www.1bible1.com/

Cheers!
Wee

Bruce Stewart (施樸樂) said...

Long runs is an area I have not had much experience in. I once did the Kona half marathon and felt I did quite well (a negative split) and under 1hr 42m, but always tended to prefer the Peaman-type distances. So I think I still need to prove to myself I can do more than I have in the past. I guess what it means is that I'll eventually get back into triathlon, although I'd better catch up a little on my work first. I'm not ready to retire (from work) and just train and rest full time. I need to go and try out one of the nearby tracks, though, as that surely won't take up too much of my time besides swimming. There is always something new to learn and to try, however old we get. Keep up the good training!

doodlebug said...

Hey, I Hope you DO get to meet Your Frank Shorter, everyone should get to meet a life long hero. "Go Bones" I 'll be cheering for you long distance. And I know you will like what ever it is you discover about yourself . Have fun . D :)

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