My weekly long runs are increasing in mileage as the date draws closer to Boston Marathon Monday! There is no way around the weekly long runs. They have to be done. The body has to know how to put one foot in front of the other and pound the pavement for hours. There is no short cut, no cheating, no passes, no talking yourself out of it.
Most of the obstacles on the road, I can block out. The vehicles, the people coming and going, the trash piles, the goats, the occasional donkey, the dogs, and the heat are all part of living on this island. I find comfort in these surroundings. They are home to me.
The one foe I have been losing the battle with is dust. We are in the dry season. Stretches of road have inch thick powdery dust, and as I run through it, I pretend I’m running through snow. Now this takes a lot of imagination since it’s 90 degrees, sunny and I’m sweating profusely.
Each week after my long run I’d return home with an annoying, non-stop, incessant, aggravating cough thanks to the clouds of dust (not snow) that I has been plodding through each week. If you know what Kegels are I need to say I have not done enough of them and coughing so much has been bringing me very close to needing Depends! When my daughter jokingly asked, “Mom, do you have TB?” I realized this cough was dominating my life.
I hate rain. I just do. Our roof leaks in every room although many visiting groups have tried to fix it. Our neighborhood roads flood quickly when it rains; it causes traffic jams and all sorts of third world, lack of infrastructure havoc. Never mind that it fills cisterns, waters plants and makes our little island green again. I still don’t like it.
Last night I set out my running clothes, my goo, my watch, my water money and my sneakers. I set my alarm (which plays “Chariots of Fire” for encouragement). Then I heard it: Drop, drop, drop, it was raining, and it pounded on our roof for several minutes. It gave just enough of a downpour to make some mud, cause the dust to settle, put a puddle here and there and give me smooth sailing through the dusty stretches of my run. My feet slung up mud, my shoes got wet and I filled with tears at the goodness of God. Just a few minutes of rain and my run has become so much easier!
When we feel God nudging us to do something hard He has such wonderful gifts along the way. My praying friend, Beth Johnson always messages me before a run telling me she is praying for me. John always holds my hand and prays with me before I head out. Tara meets me to run beside me when the miles are wearing me out.
Today He sent the gift of rain, the gift of prayer and the gift of friends. Right at mile 10 Jen and Tara showed up to help me take it home.
It’s a gift doing something hard, when you get to meet God in new ways. I see Him at every birth. A woman feels she cannot go on. The labor is too much. She feels weak and powerless. God gives her the strength and she comes through victorious and beaming. I see Him when we are at the end of ourselves. I see Him in the rain.
You can join Beth by supporting her as she runs for those that can’t. Click here for more information.