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. 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.
Over the summer my good friend, Andrew, sent me an email about his desire to run a marathon. He had picked up a copy of the book and found it inspiring and wanted to tackle the challenge of running 26.2 miles.
He is excited about the opportunity to run, but in his training he realized he did not want his race to be about him, he wanted it to be about others. He has set up a fund to help build a house for a family in Belieze who are in need of a home. He sent me the following letter and I wanted to post it and bring attention to his efforts.
Many of you remember me from serving with Ron Braaten as a part of Oasis Ministry in Belize for six and a half years. In the two years since returning to the United States, many close friends and influences have inspired me to try running a marathon. One of those inspirations is my long time friend, Tommy Bresson. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to read Tommy’s book, Running Through Life which initially sparked my interest in training for and running a marathon.
In an effort to pursue that goal, I have registered and been training to running the Richmond Marathon in Richmond, Virginia on November 15th, 2014 with my sister and brother-in-law. While running along the beach this summer, I felt inspired to use this race as an effort to raise money to bless a family with a home in Belize. In my six years of service in Belize, I saw many families living in hopeless circumstances find hope when they were blessed with a home by Pastor Ron and Oasis Ministry. Homes brought families hope in their physical circumstances, but also acted as a boost in their faith, as many families prayed for months and years that God would provide them a place to live. Homes also were a physical representation of Christ’s love to families did not previously know Christ.
Recently, a family which has been greatly invested in the ministry at Oasis and Mt. Hope Bible Church, lost their home and all their possessions in a house fire. Pastor Ron has asked me to focus my efforts on blessing this family, Mike and Susan Flowers and their four small children.
To donate toward this project please mail a check to:
6420-301 Rea Rd
Charlotte, NC 28277
Make the check payable to Oasis Ministry but please put a note in the memo to designate the purpose of your donation such as “Andrew’s Marathon House.”
Candice, the US office manager will sent you a receipt in January for tax purposes. Oasis is a 501 (c)3 organization.
Your prayers for Mike and Susan are most appreciated as well.
1.Books: I have sold a total of 81 books, leaving 45 to go!
2.Shirts: 10 sold.
3. Miles: I have run over 1,400 miles. After completing my goal, I am hoping to reach 1,600 in the final two months of the year.
4. I have successfully completed four marathons this year. As noted in my last post, I am running one more on November 23.
5. In my fourth race of the year I ran in 3:17:04, which made my average 3:17:17 – making this goal complete!