When I ran my first marathon a decade ago, I rode to the start line with an elite athlete. I asked her for any advice she could offer. She said, after 20 miles, we all hurt. It doesn’t matter how accomplished or novice you are at running, everyone hurts after 20 miles. The challenge is to keep going despite the pain.
I went in to yesterday’s DrumRunMarathon knowing it would hurt long before 20 miles. For the last two months I have been limping on a strained tendon in my left foot. In the last week, I pulled my groin twice. The weather forecast was for a sunny, 90 degree day. This was not going to be an easy run. And yet I chose to run in to the pain anyway.
The DrumRunMarathon is my riding on the coattails of Greg “The Governor” Pearson who is a fitness professional and the drummer in the Church for All People’s praise band. For years, Gov has developed an annual tradition of drumming in front of the Statehouse for 24 hours, sharing a poem called “The Gift of Love” that speaks of how God first loved us, and using this as a fundraiser for the church. This year, I jumped in to his parade and ran as he drummed.
I ran in to my pain inspired by Gov who had been drumming in front of the Statehouse for eight hours before I showed up and still had 16 hours to go.
I ran in to the pain as I watched peaceful people get escorted away from “the people’s house” because of the color of their skin.
I ran in to the pain as my foot swelled. My sports medicine doc cleared me to run, and I ran a solid pace that I was really happy with for the first 18 miles. But with no thanks to Phidippides a marathon is 26.2 miles and I began to wonder if my sports medicine doc is too permission giving.
I ran in to the pain as the temperature reached 90 degrees. In the morning, there was not a cloud in the sky and by a dozen miles in I was soaked with sweat. But I did a better job of staying hydrated and taking S Caps than I had in previous races. Also, some afternoon clouds and breezes went a long way.
I ran in to the pain and finished 26.2 miles.
In the moment, pain can feel all encompassing. But two lessons of running are that it doesn’t always get worse and that pain is temporary. My 26th mile was one of the strongest and fastest miles that I ran all day. And, on this side of the finish line, we built new relationships and raised over $2,500 for the work of the United Methodist Church for All People who is seeking to building diverse relationships of mutuality with all people. You can always support this work at: https://www.4allpeople.org/give