After my first marathon, Detroit in October 2011 I said, “I will never, ever do this again.” Then after Chicago in October 2012 I said, “I will never, and I mean never, do this again.” I have found that running marathons can sorta be compared to childbirth. When you are in the gut-busting heaves of a full on contraction, never realizing in your wildest nightmares that a body could experience that much pain and live, it is hard to envision the day when the grey matter would soften enough to kind of forget the ungodly agony and willingly go through it again. I guess it is a good thing, for the survival of the human race that our brains are set up on kind of a sieve system, some of the particulars sort of fall through the cracks.
But in qualifying for Boston 2014 with my Chicago run time of 3:58:04 I fell into the same foggy trap. All caught up in the festivities of my great accomplishment the rocks in my head actually fell out. I picked them up, dusted them off and said, “Let’s do this!”
It was in my treasured time before the Holy Eucharist (I can actually see the doors of the church that look in at the Blessed Sacrament from my kitchen window) that I made a commitment to give back, in some small way, to Him Who has given me everything. So many times after a visit, and my heart is full with a joy that only Jesus can give I think on how essential it is to be with Him there. How did I rate that He has provided me with such a perfectly simple and easy road to heaven? And each time I recommit myself to my only true purpose: to spend my life adoring my God, my Eucharist, my Thanksgiving and offering Him what little reparation it is in me to give, for all the negligence I have been guilty of in His service, I know this is my way.
I may screw up a great many things in my day, (I’m kinda good at it) but if I spend a half hour with Jesus, the day is won. He provides; He is the victory in my defeats. He always is. And so, little by little, as I have felt the effects of frequent spiritual communion, and that happiness, I am growing more and more addicted to a joy that can be found nowhere else.
I really could go on and on, but the point I wanted to get to is that when someone (God) is so good to you, you tend to want to pay them back, to think of someway to please them. And when this race came along, the idea started brewing of making this four and a half month process of pain topped off with an excruciatingly awful four hour run my gift to Him. I could give Him this cross for what I call “my four reasons”: in thanksgiving for this Pearl of Greatest Value, to adore Him there, to make amends, and in petition for those He has given me to love…
It’s comical really (God has such a quirky sense of humor) how you can have a day filled with happiness and love and you’re spouting off all kinds of ways in which you will Joan of Arc your way through life for your God. Bring on the inquisition! Bring on the burning at the stake! I am ready!
Then come the Saturday long runs. I am a very bad waiter. And by waiter, I don’t mean the guy who serves up my filet mignon, medium-rare, and a baked potato with extra butter and sour cream. I mean I’m an American! And when I mean now, I mean now dang it! Because I am “A+” numbero uno, and the most important person in the whole wide world! I don’t think you should damage my self-esteem by telling me no. And I certainly don’t like to wait.
Distance running forces you to do a lot of waiting. Waiting to stop. Waiting might seem like the wrong term, but for me my head and body are opposing forces. Treadmill runs sometimes feel like an eternity, long runs never seem to stop. And planks. One minute of waiting. And waiting. And waiting!
One of the biggest parts of this training schedule is not the miles I run, but on conditioning my brain and heart to tolerate pain for long amounts of time. Silly, but true. These workouts have just as much to do with enduring that cross for long periods, conditioning me for the cross even more than my legs.
Now we all know I am not meaning an actually hewed slab of lumber strapped to my shoulder, because I am, after all, a weakling. Mentally, spiritually, and physically. But as it says in the good book: “when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10) In my willingness (hopefully) and my trust, and surrendering to the pains and struggles of this life, God will provide all that I need- to accomplish whatever is His will for me to accomplish.
This whole, entire process of training and running a marathon cannot be separated from living my faith as a Catholic Christian. They are one and the same journey. Hence, the title of my blog is everything. It is the motivation for this journaling project, it is the fuel that keeps me typing at a frenzied pace (wish my running and typing were at the same pace).
About Teresa Hurst:
I’m Teresa Hurst and have been married to the man of my dreams (he always teases and says it’s my nightmares) Jim, for almost twenty-nine years. We have made our home together in Rochester Hills, Michigan and are now partial-empty nesters, one leg hanging out I guess- with our two older children (Simon, 23, and Emmaclare, 20) gone into the world. We have only our sweet Gracie, 12, at home with us.
To help on the monetary end of things, providing the simple life to which we are heartily blessed, I have my own business- landscape appraisal and design. I really love what I do, but I have a great many other loves as well. As is obvious via the blog title, I run. I am working now on my third and LAST marathon, Boston. I am hoping my body holds up! I also love to write and have an actual book under my belt: A Beautiful Life, A Beautiful Death: A Mother and Daughter’s Journey, offered through Lulu. We fit in time to visit with family and friends and eat good food. I garden and then convalesce on my porch to enjoy the view, and laugh and talk really loud about most everything, including running and my Catholic faith. Find more of my writing at teresahurst.blogspot.com.
Copyright 2014 Teresa Hurst