"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Mental Victory

This past Sunday morning was my final long run of the Chicago training cycle. Twenty-two miles and it would be on to the three week taper. As I prepared Saturday night, I commented on how the weather had really worked out well during this training. Hot, but very few, if any, bad weather days. There would be a chance of rain tomorrow, but mostly overnight and should be good again by the time I get going.  Additionally, these past fifteen weeks have been free of illness or nagging injury. Seventy-five runs planned and seventy-four completed (I just couldn't fit in a 5 miler one busy Wednesday last month, darn it!). Very blessed with just one more long one to go .......

The alarm was set for 5:00 a.m., but I didn't need the alarm.  I had been up most of the night with a head cold and sore throat.  When I finally did get to sleep, the downpour just shy of 4:00 a.m. woke everyone up. Great, the most important run of the entire cycle and I am just not feeling it.  Back and forth the debate went on as I stared at the clock.  Ultimately, all of those early mornings, coupled with the discipline to make it happen no matter what, motivated me to get up and give it a shot.

Running with a head cold is nothing new. As I have mentioned before, my philosophy towards illness, "if it's above the neck - run; if it's below the neck - rest," has never failed me. Most often, it expedites the cure.  But, as I opened the garage door, switched on the head lamp and stared out into a light and steady rain, I had my doubts. I thought for just a moment and then I made up my mind to forget about the rain and the sleepless night and the sinuses, and just run. 

A few miles in, shoes, shorts and shirt soaked, I kept thinking how prepared I would be should it be poor weather in Chicago.  The rain stayed light with the exception of miles 6-9 when the skies opened up again. That's when my inner determination really kicked in and it became fun.  The light of day was just about to poke through and I'm certain that the words "nut", "idiot" and "goofball" were regularly used by those driving past or looking out their kitchen windows. My cap had a steady stream of rain pouring off the bill and the squish - squish of the shoes could be heard over the pitter - patter hitting the streets. But there was no choice, had to keep going.

Long story short, I finished the run, and despite the continued rain, jumped in the neighborhood pool for my post-run ritual cool down.  I had not melted.  I had not felt any worse, in fact, I felt much better in terms of congestion and the sore throat. I did not get blisters from wet socks. I ran the fastest 22 miles I've ever recorded and most importantly, I had the satisfaction of experiencing how much better it was to just go run, than to give in to the excuses. Mentally, another hurdle cleared. And now, ......  na na na-na, na-na, na-na, Taper Time,  na na ...... (apologies to MC Hammer).


  1. Glad you had such a great run! Awesome job pushing through it in the elements. I sometimes like to imagine what people are saying when I'm out running in the rain or dark (or both), it can make me feel stronger. Enjoy your taper!

  2. You are going to do great in Chicago! Loved reading this!