Monday, 6 April 2015

26 Days Until 26.2 Miles

 When you sign up for an event far in advance the hardest part of motivating yourself is when the event seems a long way off. This is week four of six weeks of intense training and for the first time in a long time I think I actually may be ready to run a full marathon May 3. This year I will definitely not peak too early as this year has been a much tougher grind than normal.
A few questions I am asked often are, how can you run for so long? Are you not bored? Do you listen to music?
As I mention in this article highlighted below, running down my ravine is my calm away from the storms of life. I would not want to miss anything by listening to music.

Somehow I have picked the race that boasts on it`s website of being the hilliest marathon in America. Gloria asked me why I would pick this particular race. After I finish it I will reveal the two powerful reasons that are worth the extra challenges these hills will mean in this marathon.
These are a few thoughts I have had during my long training runs this year.

The Past
I have been told I do not have enough humour in my life. I have been told I am too serious. I have been told I do not smile enough. This probably is true as whatever I am doing at any given time I know young girls in Cambodia are being abused and I can not enjoy the moment as much as I should.
I ran the Boston Marathon in 2011. My family came with me for support.
There is a series of hills near the end of the race, one even has been given a name it is called Heartbreak hill.
In Boston you have a generic bib, in that you are given a number but your name does not appear on your bib.
Imagine my surprise at the twenty mile mark right before Heartbreak hill I hear "Larry, Larry." I look up into the crowd and see my Mother and brother waving at me. I wonder to myself where is my Father?
I did not have long to wait for stepping out between two machine gun carrying Marines right onto the course is my Father. Talk about making an appearance!
My Father was jumping up and down, calling out my name, and waving his camera at me. My response was to angrily yell "Dad I cannot stop for a picture." My Mother to this day still laughs at me for thinking my Father wanted me to stop for a picture at this moment.
To myself I thought if I have enough energy to have anger I should be okay to finish this race.

The Present
Running on a path that is not cleared all winter presents some challenges. One day the wind made my long run even more difficult. A long stretch of the path was clear of snow followed by a long stretch of path which had hardened snow four feet deep, followed by another long stretch of a clear path.
Struggling mightily part way through the deep snow my eyes started stinging as some sun tan lotion I had put on my face went into my eyes. As I looked at the long distance I still had to cover a four letter word came to mind. Easy.  How much easier this run would have been if the wind had not moved the snow like this.
Down my ravine there is nowhere to hide physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Immediately I thought of a series of questions dealing with the word easy.
How easy is it to train for a marathon?
How easy is it to complete a marathon?
How easy is it to bring awareness for others who suffer in a far away Country to a selfish world?
How easy is it for the one`s who have suffered to be brought to a complete healing?
How easy was the life and death of Jesus?
Thank you Lord for the road less travelled you have chosen for me. Thank you for hardships, for they make me appreciate good times. Thank you for the pain that comes before triumphs.
Thank you for the times of struggles for they make me stronger. 
Forgive me for wanting an easy life. Please remove this word from my vocabulary.
"In trying to bring freedom, I have experienced freedom myself" is the quote I finished with in the recent article.
The freedom I have experienced is the freedom from the tyranny of things.
I have no desire to climb corporate ladders. I have no desire to add letters beside my name. I have no desire to have my name in lights.
I have no desire to live in a bigger house, buy a newer car, or compete with my neighbours.
I do have a burning desire to bring freedom to hurting people.
This is the elevation chart of my upcoming marathon.

To prepare for this I will run Centennial Ski hill hundreds of times in training. What I have come to realize is being free from the tyranny of things allows me to enjoy the view from the top of this hill.

Being a slave to the things of this world would have me constantly climbing this hill, and even when reaching the top, never stopping to enjoy the view.

The Future
I will not run marathon`s for the rest of my life. I have to be careful not to be like one of those athletes who hold on for too long. I have an exit strategy God willing.
After Pittsburgh my long range plan is to run three more full marathons, bringing the total to ten.
I hope to run another Major marathon in an American city my family has never been to. I hope to run in a destination marathon that would require my family to fly to get to the city. (sorry Lisa and Steve it is not Cambodia.) I hope to finish my marathon career where it all began at the Mississauga Marathon.
The last year would be a celebration. During my longest training run I thought of not shaving for that entire year. Only shaving after the marathon. This would be a challenge as I hate the feeling of facial hair. I would also probably have a pretty "lonely" year as I am sure Gloria may not be a big supporter of her husband looking like a family member of Duck Dynasty.
On the positive I could see this being a great way to bring awareness for Ratanak International. Also my family may raise a significant amount of money to see me clean shaven again.
As you can see running for over three hours down my ravine may be challenging but it is far from boring and when the day comes to stop I will miss it.


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