Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Life Marathon -- The Fans

The grueling race began.  One foot after the other running towards the finish line.  There were hundreds of fans along the side of the road early in the chilled morning with their children wrapped in coats.  I was well aware that there were places around the city where supporters were able to see the runners and encourage them on.  But screaming fans were everywhere.  EVERYWHERE!!!! There were thousands of people with blue, white, and pink poster signs rousing their favorite runners on.  There were marines dressed in fatigues dispersed throughout the race giving high fives; little 10-year old kids were passing out waters and Powerade to runners they did not even know.  In all honesty, there was never a half mile in the entire race that there were not screaming, bell-in-hand supporters....

View Image
Photo by John Miranda
 "Come on! You can do it!"

"Keep going!  Don't stop!
"You got this!"
"You were stupid enough to sign up for this race.  You better not stop now.  You've got a long way to go!" (Someone said that; I am not sure if I was fired up about her.)

Even runers were encouraging other runners.  It was so great and so needed.  I really believe that it would have been extremely difficult to run that race without all of the rousing encouragement.  During my extensive training, I had to run a twenty miler.  Around mile 12, my wife and kids drove along Route 214 to meet me and see how I was doing.  They met me two other times just to encourage and make sure my body felt okay.  I am positive this run could not have happened without their support.
"Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement - and we will make the goal." -- Robert Collier
How often do you encourage others? We should't look for it, but always ready and willing to give it.  And how often do you encourage your own family? I have to do a better job at this.    I'm NOS.

My encouragement to you. -- "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." -- 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Life Marathon -- The Start

It could not have been a better day to run a race than Halloween Day, 2010.  The weather was perfect a nice chill to the fall air; the runners were ready, and the atmosphere was electric.  I had been anticipating this day for months.  Yet, I did not always look forward to running a marathon.  In fact, I NEVER wanted to run a marathon.

I had been running for a couple of years now.  I ran in the Marine Corps Marathon 10K race in 2008.  I watched the marathon runners prepare for their excruciatingly long run and thought to myself, "I ain't doing that." Well, a couple of my 'I ain't doing that' opposing friends, who ran the race last year, persistently coerced me to run it this year.  "Dijon, you're a runner!  You can do this!" "Dijon, just take the pace slow and you will finish."  "It'll be great!" Yadda yadda yadda.  I reluctantly said yes.  The problem for me was not that I did not think I could do it.  The problem was I was scared. Umm, rephrase -- Haw-rhi-phied!!!  26 miles?  That's from my house clear past Annapolis!  The amount of time I could run would equal the amount of time I could drive to New York, with two rest stops and relax and eat a Cinnabon. (You want one right now, huh?) Haw-rhi-phied!!!

Taking risks is scary, isn't it?  Even the most calculated ones can be frightening.  A little while ago, I was teaching my boys how to ride a bike. And every time they got on that seat, fear would hit their face.  They were scared when I let the bike go.  Why?  Because if and when I let go, they had the major risk of failing, I mean falling.  When we let go of our fear, we have the beautiful risk of failing, I mean falling.  So instead, we hold on to our fear so that we won't fall, I mean fail.  We can often feel safe...with fear. 

If I held on to my fear, I would have never signed up to run this daring race.  I would have continued to leave that long run for the 'lunatics'.  Teaching our kids to always play it safe reduces their ability to take a risk, to know how to risk, to step out on faith, to have courage, and of being a kid.  You may ask, "What if they get hurt?"  What if I am not there when it happens?  What if they fail? What will their peers think?  Well, here are some answers:

"What if they get hurt?" -- They will live.
What if I am not there when it happens? -- Someone else will help.
What if they fail? -- Failing is often times...good!
What will their peers think? -- People are going to talk about you anyway, whether you do well or not.

I am glad that even at my age, this lunatic is still learning to take risks. 

"Always do what you are afraid to do." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Share your thoughts and opinions.  Either way, I would like to hear what you think.  I'm in N.O.S. to learn...