was in much more trouble than mine. And believe me, in the middle of my 8-mile run that day I was fighting for every breath I could find.
But I discovered something that day. I didn't know the extent of it, but I knew I was running the first steps of a journey that was going to be measured in units far greater than miles and heartbeats and disappearing pounds. Today, when I look back to that first half marathon in November, 2013, and consider how far I've come, it's not the miles and the medals hanging on the wall behind me that come to mind, it's relationships.
First and foremost, I think about my relationship with God. Prior to this running journey I'm not sure I'd ever heard God talk to me. That's not to suggest he hadn't been talking my ears off for years. I assure you he was. But I guess running's taught me there's a huge difference between hearing and listening, and that listening might be the most overlooked piece of a thriving relationship.
Running has given me the time and the quiet to be still and listen to God in ways I never had, and listening to God has opened doors to honor him I never dreamed could be opened.
Next, I think about my relationships with the people I've met along this running journey. Many of whom have become my best friends. Again, to think back and imagine I'd one day trek to Kentucky and Ohio, the Cayman Islands and South Carolina, not to run a particular race but to be with treasured friends to share that race with, well, let's just say that would have been hard to imagine as well. But they are all counted among the most beautiful of those opened doors.
Finally, I think about my relationship with myself. I believe one big thing that stands in the way of our opportunity to get along with ourselves, to embrace the contentment we can find in life through the real us and not the us we feel pressured to be, is doubt. Doubt that we're good enough, capable enough, bold enough to be the kind of person we hear God telling us we can be once we start listening to him.
Nothing shreds doubt like crossing the finish line of a half-marathon. Miracles happen. You suddenly believe you can run a whole marathon. In fact, you start thinking a marathon's something you must do, not something you can do. Life changes when you begin hearing prompts and your first thought is "I've got to do that." Life changes when you never hear yourself say "I can't" again.
One half marathon becomes 10.
The Boston Marathon becomes a race you know a lot about - one that makes you say "I've got to do that."
So for all the relationships discovered and grown along the way, number 10 is for you. I couldn't have found a better place to honor you. The Kiawah Island setting was beautiful (if a bit chilly), the race was well run - to include an awesome post-race spread of food, and for the second year in a row I had a pre-Christmas running experience filled with joy.
I didn't roam too far this weekend without someone handing me an ice tray
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Life is like running.