Saturday, January 28, 2012

Oxygen Please!

A couple of young ladies with whom I am acquainted are running a 10K race in Amarillo today.  They are twins.  Neither of them are obvious marathoners.  Yet, they both set a goal to become runners.

I think originally they decided to run in a race to raise funds for a mission trip.  They sought and obtained pledges of so much per mile completed.  Apparently they caught the running bug and have since run in numerous races.

I was never a great athlete although if there was an athletic event for which I was suited it would be long distance running.  I didn't have the speed for sprints.  If I wanted to compete, it had to be on endurance.

Endurance is related to character (given of course that a particular body is healthy enough to stand the strain of distance running).  It is a matter of pushing yourself beyond the point where every part of you is crying out, "This is stupid to punish yourself this way!  Just quit and be done with it!"

Over time, with diligent training, the body is able to stand more and more and that point of "enough" moves further and further until goals are reached.

Nearly everything in life worth attaining is that way.  We start on a project until we reach a point of difficulty.  It is our character that determines whether we persevere or quit.  It is a trial.

Why do we put ourselves through trials?  Why don't we always take the easy path?  I suspect it is something rooted in our cellular makeup which drives what we call "the survival of the fittest."  It is the way we are designed.

I decided a long time ago that distance running was not something that gave me joy.  I run occasionally purely for the basic fitness aspects of it.  My goal isn't to be a marathoner, merely to run a couple of miles to prove that I still can.  But, in other ways I consider myself a marathon runner.

A marathon can be life itself.  I have been fortunate not to be faced with the challenges of life-threatening illness, or even with extreme difficulties.  However, I always have goals toward which I am working.  There are always obstacles to achieving those goals.  The more hurdles I have overcome, the higher the next obstacle becomes.  The key is not to quit.

Running places extreme demands on our lungs.  Our bodies struggle to get enough oxygen.  Fortunately, with a few minutes of huffing and puffing our supply is replenished.  I wish sometimes it was that easy in other types of marathons.  It would be nice to say, "Oxygen please!"


I know this wasn't the letter "O" topic suggested by one friend and loyal reader.  However, I decided his suggestion was too controversial.  I would probably write such a lengthy post that it might need to be in book form rather than blog post.  It's not that I didn't like his suggestion, I just couldn't limit it to a reasonable length!  Tomorrow I will work with the letter "P."  I will seriously consider all suggestions.


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