I Won't Build My Life On Sinking Sand
footers were lined up perfectly square - sometimes taking hours with tape measures and stakes and strings, pointing at us to move here and then there. He'd oversee the digging of the footers and later the concrete poured to just the right depth and level. He was particular about who he hired to lay the block on that foundation, ultimately the anchor to the house. And those first boards nailed to it, well they were nailed and strapped down fast enough a nuclear blast wouldn't so much as nudge one of his houses.
I worked for a boss who knew if the foundation wasn't solid, nothing built on top of it would ever survive.
Running has taught me a lot about foundations. As I began to enter more races I was amazed at how strong so many runners looked. Especially the runners I compared to me. With a little digging, I discovered the big difference between them and me was what they were doing away from race days. How they trained. How they ate and drank. Even how they slept. When I looked at these runners in awe, what I was really seeing, without seeing it at all, was the hard work that had gone into getting them to race day.
As I've prepared for the Georgia Jewel, where I'll be running further than I've ever run, climbing higher than I've ever climbed, I've had to do some things differently. I've climbed thousands of stairs, run more monthly miles than I've ever run, and sought out trail surfaces that replicate as close as possible the Pinhoti trail that makes up the Georgia Jewel. I've known the runner who shows up to the Jewel starting line on September 22 won't be the runner who crawled out of bed that morning, but a runner built on the foundation of what happened between May and September.
Life is that way as well. Driving to Georgia today I'll no doubt have interactions with people along the way. The me that greets these folks, though, won't be the me who jumped in my car and started driving this morning. The me they'll see is built on the foundation of the me I used to be. They'll see a man who's made mistakes over the years, experienced tough times as a result, and committed to learn and grow and be better in the aftermath. I'm someone who's gone from living a life built on my own understanding to a man who not only accepts, but daily begs for God's guidance. The me people see today is no longer a life built on sinking sand.
In running and in life, we need solid foundations. Who we are today is a product of what we believe in and trust - whether it's God or a training plan or something else beyond us - and how hard we've worked at aligning our lives with those beliefs. If our beliefs and preparations don't go beyond ourselves - deeper than our own feelings and whims - chances are our lives are built on sinking sand.
In less than 48 hours I'll line up to run the Georgia Jewel. I trust the path will be sturdy. I trust I'll encounter no sinking sand.