by Joel Lawler
Today I picked up my number for the marathon. I have spent the last six months training for this. It has been a lot of hard work to get here.
I used to hate running. It felt awkward and tiring. I would try to run once a week as part of an exercise plan to stay in shape. The one thing I liked about it was how little it required. I did not have to go to a gym. I did not need additional equipment. I could just walk out the door and start running.
I found a group of guys who loved running. Their passion helped me give running another chance. It is incredible how passion can do that. When someone loves something or someone relentlessly, intensely and with determination it changes the people around them. Passion breaks down prejudices. Passion asks the bystanders to take another look and with a fresh set of eyes.
One of my best friends has that fire. Whatever he does he is all in. He is a runner. I think that he has inspired a great deal of people to become runners. He is also someone who loves others well. He is generous and loves to serve others. His passion is hard not to get caught up in. I have found myself running in the pre-dawn while it is cold and raining. I would have never done such a thing without my friend's encouragement and knowing that he was going to be running beside me.
Running does not change the world. It changes that person doing it physically. It is a healthy thing to do. It is just one of many ways to get exercise. It is not the end all be all. It is a sport and a hobby. My point in writing this article is not to promote running. If it gets you out pounding the pavement or encourages you if you are already a runner that is a good thing. That is not my goal.
We started a team called "Road Kill Surfers." The name came about when a couple of us were running early in the morning while it was still dark. We noticed a pretty horrific smell but I did not notice its source until I had stepped on it. I have no idea what it was prior to getting hit by the car but afterwards it was a gushy, slippery mess. The name, like the stench, has lingered. Our team runs races to raise money for Visiting Orphans. They conduct mission trips for churches, schools and individuals from around the United States to orphanages all around the world. They are a great group of people passionate about helping kids around the world find homes. They put families together. It is a joy to work with them. This takes something we are passionate about and adds the benefit of helping a great organization that is serving kids around the word.
Three weeks ago, I was training for the marathon. We were doing speed drills. We were on a high school track doing running laps when I felt something in my right foot that did not seem right. After I got home, my foot started hurting and swelling. I had my doctor examine it. He diagnosed it as possibly tendentious. He suggested that I go to a running clinic where they were having injury assessments. The therapist at the clinic believes that I have a stress fracture. She told me to take the next three weeks off and I could try to run the marathon.
Tomorrow morning I will be at the starting line. I have no idea if I can complete the race. My plan was to not only finish the race but to do so in a good time. That is what I have trained for. That was my goal. The circumstances have changed. I am going to give it my best and see how it goes. Regardless of what happens, I have been blessed to train with some amazing people. I have built some deep friendships. I have also raised money for a great cause.