Well, I’m doing it again. I suppose I did not learn my lesson after running my first half marathon in San Antonio in 2008, but we’ve registered, paid for it, and we are now halfway through our 12 week training program. I’m pretty sure that I would die if I ever tried to run a full marathon, so this half marathon thing is right up my alley.
There are basically two great things about running a half marathon. First, you get bragging rights to say that you ran 13.1 miles without stopping. After my first half marathon, once the desire to vomit subsided, I remember the great feeling of accomplishment that accompanied the jello feelings in my legs. “I just ran for 2 hours straight. It’s not even 10:00 yet. What have you done today?”
Second, you get to track your progress. Since my wife and I are on a 12-week training program, each week adds more miles to our daily runs. Before we started training, I almost died after running a mile. Eventually, one mile became a lot easier, and then I would want to fall over in the street after three miles. I feel like you get the picture. Each week more miles are added, but it is always in small increments. So far, our longest run has been 6 miles. Two months ago, I would not have been able to run 6 miles without stopping even if my life depended on it. After several runs of 3 miles, 4 miles, and 5 miles, 6 miles does not really seem like a problem.
By completing the short distances several times, it makes the long distances seem a lot easier. Last night, while running 4 miles, I thought, “It’s just 4 miles. I ran 6 miles on Sunday. I’ve done this before,” and it makes the task a lot easier. Obviously, the goal of the training program is to get to the point where I can run 13.1 miles, but the longest run I will complete prior to race day will be only 10 miles. Why? Because if you can run 10 miles, you can run 13.1.
Faith is the same way. It is faith that gets us through the most difficult times in our lives. Sometimes when we see the struggles that a friend is going through, we think, “Man, I would never be able to handle it the way she is handing it.” When we look back over what we have personally been through, we see times where life was horrible, nothing went our way, and everyone was out to get us. We ask ourselves, “How did I make it through that?” Most likely, we did something prior to that event that gave us the faith to make it through again.
Jesus did not recruit his apostles and immediately challenge them to heal crippled men and cast out demons. They had to get their feet wet first. Ultimately, faith is always challenged and tested. Sometimes the tests are small. Sometimes they throw our world upside down.
How can we have the confidence to make it to the other side? We’ve made it this far, so what’s one more mile?