50,000

When the soccer season ended on October 9 a lot of people asked me, “what are you going to do with all your new found free time?” The question was valid as I was instantly given at least three more hours every day to fill however I desired. My quick response to the question was, “run and write.” That was a bit of a falsified answer because I had been running on a regular basis the whole year so it wasn’t as if running was something new I was adding to my schedule. Though the writing portion was something that had not been a daily occurrence for me and I was eager to make it one. As mentioned in a previous blog post (which you can read by clicking here) I am in the process of writing another book. With that in mind since soccer ended I have dedicated a few hours every day to working on the book. My research began over the summer but once the season ended I was able to focus more heavily on the research aspect. For the rest of October I spent multiple hours every day doing research and trying to organize all the different thoughts that were running through my mind. I wanted everything to be neatly organized and laid out so that when I started writing I could benefit from all the research that had been done. When November 1st rolled around, I began writing on a daily basis and as of this evening I have reached the 50,000 word mark and have completed the initial rough draft of the manuscript. My goal is to finish with a manuscript with 20 chapters and somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000 words, so after finishing the 20th chapter today I am right where I want to be.

I remember the day I completed the rough draft of the manuscript that would later turn into Running Through Life my dad looked at me and said, “congratulations, a third of the work is done!” I didn’t initially believe him, but soon found his words to be true as I quickly realized how much work was yet to be done throughout the editing process.

Though there is still a lot of work ahead of me, I am taking the evening to celebrate the work that has been accomplished thus far. I am excited about what has been written and am eager to go back through everything and try to make it better. For a few years I knew I was going to get the itch to write a second book, but wasn’t going to do it until I knew it was coming from my heart. This has been a project that has come from my heart and taught me a lot in the process. It has been a journey that has enriched my life and opened my eyes to the amazing nuggets of truth in the Scriptures. It has forced me to see Jesus in a new way, which has helped me fall in love with him all over again.  I hope one day the words of this book will find you and you will be able to say the same.

Nameless memories

Philly

It occurred to me today that my bib from the Philadelphia marathon did not have my name on it. This was the first marathon where I have not had my name on my bib, and the funny thing is I didn’t even notice until almost a week later. Yet while running the race I distinctly remember finding it odd nobody was cheering for me by name (besides my awesome pit-crew that came to support me). There were those who were yelling out my bib number, I heard a few “Go 1695″ I was wearing one of the book’s shirts with the numbers 26.2 across the front, therefore I heard a number of “way to go 26.2!” I remember hearing the different versions of cheering while running and thinking it was odd nobody was cheering me by my name, but had no clue that it was because my name wasn’t on by bib.

After having the realization it brought a thought-provoking question to mind, since I was a nameless runner running past a bunch of strangers, what kind of impression and memory did I leave them with? There were those who saw me running early in the race and their memory would certainly be different than someone who saw me coming down the home stretch. Some may have seen me side-by-side someone else and thought I was running with a friend while others saw me tackling the hill with no other runners in sight. I was a nameless runner providing others with a nameless memory.

Stepping away from the marathon and thinking about life, what kind of memory am I providing those around me? Do they see a smile and a light that speaks agains the darkness in the world? Do they hear gossip or idle talk that signifies a life lived without purpose? We pass by countless people yet, each stranger offers us the opportunity to have an impact on their life. It may be a simple smile, or it could even be as small as making eye contact. Whatever the gesture may be being a nameless runner doesn’t mean I have to be a nameless memory.

One more.

One more

One more. I feel as though I used that phrase a thousand times throughout the year. One more hill. One more lap around the track. One more mile. One more song. One more long run. And now, one more marathon. The knowledge of only having one more is challenging, freeing and inspiring.

Having one more can be challenging because it usually signals that there have been a number that have preceded it. Whether it is hills, miles, or laps, being left with one more is a recognition of all the work that has just been done. It can leave you bending over with hands on the knees, sucking in air and staring down the final hurdle.

One more is also freeing. Recognizing all the work that has previously been done, you are one away from finishing. One away from being done and being able to completely relax and soak in all the hard work of your achievement. One away from giving your all, and then being able to soak in the freedom of the accomplishment.
One more is inspiring. There is no reason to not work your hardest because it is the last of its kind. Additionally, you don’t want to finish on a sour note, you want to have your last one be your best one. Therefore one more stirs up inspiration to give all you can to finish strong.
The mantra of ‘one more’ has been weighing heavy on my heart as I am now three days away from running my fifth marathon of the year. Truthfully I debated for a few days as to whether or not I was going to sign up, but as I did I said that I wanted to do one more this year.
One more marathon this year is a challenging thought to me. Within the past two or three weeks I have significantly felt all the miles I have logged this year (currently just under 1,500). I have had two bouts of a 48 hour flu that basically knocked me off my feet for a few days. I have recently picked up a hamstring niggle that bothers me ever so slightly while running. I have had a great year of running, and the thought of one more is a challenge. I’m tired from all the training, all the early mornings, all the hills, all the speed workouts.
One more marathon is also freeing. When I cross the finish line I know I will have surpassed every running goal I set for the year. Miles accumulated, marathons run, average time of my races were all goals that will be accomplished. Once I take that first step over the finish line, I will be done with training for the year. After 11 months of training, I am looking forward to some time off both physically and mentally. I recognize all the miles I have put into training to prepare my body for Philly, but I also look forward to the fruit of all that hard work as I cross the line.
One more marathon is also inspiring. I love to compete, I love to push myself, I want to test my body and see how far I can push it. With my collegiate alma matter having great success in recent weeks, I have been thinking more about the glory days of playing. There are few things I would want my former teammates and coaches to say about me other than, “He always gave his all. He never quit. Never gave up. Game, practice, relationships, he was completely dedicated and never gave less than his best effort.” As I come closer to the start line of this next marathon, I hope I can bring the same attitude to my race. I am inspired to run and run as best as I can. I have yet to settle on a goal time – right now I am debating two different goals: 1. To finish in under 3:18:00 (my average this year is 3:17:17, with my slowest being a 3:22) 2. I am thinking about trying to run my fastest 2nd half of the year (my fastest 13.1-26.2 split in 2014 was 1:40:55, set a month ago in Columbus) As I get closer to race day I will solidify these.
One more. Truthfully, I’m getting really excited and am ready to run.