I have to believe that I was being prepared for this new race for a couple of years. There are questions people ask when they hear you have run marathons and I will try to answer those first:
1) Have you always loved running? No. Running is a tough discipline, but I do enjoy the quiet time and the feeling of accomplishment.
2) Do you get a "runner's high?" I have never felt a runner's high! Maybe I did something wrong. Running that far still hurts and I still have to will myself to run.
3) Why? I remember telling Chris that I wanted to run a marathon about 3 years ago. I made her promise not to tell anyone, because I had never run over 7 miles. I was scared to let others know because it sounded so bizarre.
The Phases of a MarathonExcitement- The first part of the race is pure euphoria. Everyone is excited. You see and hear many things - some that are hard to describe - confetti, balloons, tv cameras, jet fly-overs, the National Anthem, more runners than you have ever imagined. And now for the strange. I have seen Mickey Mouse, the Blues Brothers (with briefcases), dragons, Uncle Sam, and even Sponge Bob. This excitement phase of the race, I think, is very similar to what I felt through the surgery and initial diagnosis of my illness. Everyone is there and it is hard to believe that you will finish and defeat the opponent. You know what is ahead, but all of the distractions push the coming pain and struggles far from you.
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith Heb 12:1-2 (NKJV)
So how do you get "endurance?"
The Drudgery - It is hard to describe when the next phase begins, but you are aware of the change. The crowds begin to thin and soon the sounds of the crowd and the start line are replaced by the breathing of the runners around you and your shoes on the pavement. For the first time your brain begins to tell you that you have many miles of this drudgery ahead.
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing James 1:2-4 (NKJV)
My training for this phase of the race has taught me to associate with the run. In the next phase, during the pain or the wall, you are taught to disassociate or to remove yourself from the pain with distractions. So how do you associate with the run? You concentrate on your breathing, your heart rate, your pace. You remind yourself of the long runs that you have accomplished and focus on the distance behind you, not ahead. You find the smiling faces, even if they are the policemen keeping traffic back. You smile and thank them.
I do know that I am in the drudgery phase of my race with cancer at this time. The drive for radiation is long and with my 6th day behind me, I now have 19 more days. The pain from the tumor is still there and I want the race to stop..............but I WILL NOT! God has allowed this race for a reason and I will not waste my suffering. I must associate with the drudgery.
I choose to focus on the smiling faces that are still cheering. I choose not to dwell on the pain that still exists but to remember the healing that God has already allowed. I will count my blessings as I wait for my treatment and open the door for those who are too weak to even open the door to the Cancer Center. I will praise my God for seeing me worthy of this test, this trial. I will allow Him to complete His promise in me.