I wanted to quit. I had an excuse and a way to save face and I was going to take it. Six months earlier, I had set a goal to run a marathon and asked a friend to join me in the adventure. He had running experience and had even completed a marathon once before. Now, after miles and miles of training, there we were standing at the starting line, and all I wanted to do was quit!
The miles didn’t scare me; my fear was (and still is) failure. My final three weeks of training had been severely hampered by a sharp pain in my foot caused by an ailment known as plantar fasciitis. Consequently, my anticipated peak of training quickly became a valley of ice and rest. I hadn’t trained like I had hoped, and I knew that if my plantar fasciitis flared up in the beginning of the race, it would be extremely difficult to finish the race and accomplish my goal.
At one point I thought about not running the race at all, but I felt confident in my ability to complete the half-marathon. All I needed to do was to veer off the race course with the other half-marathoners. No one would know. I could coast into the finish line, get my t-shirt, have a victor’s medal placed around my neck, and have a decent excuse for anyone that would ask. It would be a significant accomplishment to complete a half-marathon, right? This plan would save me from failure, or at least from it’s full weight. It was an excellent plan and it would have worked perfectly, if only I was running the race alone.
My friend didn’t let me take the easy way out. He never even considered it as an option. When I half-heartedly mentioned it, he just brushed me off and kept on going. His confidence assuaged my fears. His presence pushed me to the finish line of a full-marathon and I am forever thankful that we made the choice to run it together. Without that choice, I’m not sure I would have made it.
In many ways the appointee process is very similar to marathon training:
Failure is a constant fear.
Obstacles are ever present.
Things never go as planned.
It takes longer than you can imagine.
There are easy ways out.
The temptation to quit is real.
You can’t do it alone.
There are more similarities, and I could write on each one. The one that stands out to me the most, is the need for the support of others throughout our training, while we are actually “in the race.” Those who accompany you on the journey are to be treasured above all else. Their presence can keep you going through the darkest and most challenging of times. There are many who have come alongside us to encourage us in our journey. We could not keep going without each and every one of them! Thank you for texting, calling, liking, giving, and loving on us throughout this training process. Without the encouragement of others, our inner doubts would have no one to drown them out. We start “the race” soon and we hope to see you along the course!