What Gets Us Through The Last 6.2 Miles of a Marathon & Life

I don’t know about you, but I have a new appreciation for marathon runners. Life is hard enough, why put yourself through that torture? I say that, but I still love a good challenge!

There is one more insight I want to pull from the article I came a crossed “My Experiences With The Last 6.2 Miles Of The Marathon” http://www.runningthroughlife.com/2012/03/29/my-experiences-with-the-last-6-2-miles-of-the-marathon/ . Here is what he writes.

“When I was struggling the most I came upon a young guy who made me feel like I was doing okay. He was really struggling. He was walking (well really hobbling) and as I passed him I gave him a little slap on the shoulders and told him that he could do it and that we were getting close. He mumbled something back that I couldn’t understand but then he started to jog with me. As we talked I started to tell him that he was looking good, that we were getting closer, and that he would never be the same after finishing that marathon (It was his first). The thing that I noticed is the more I tried to help him and get his spirits up the better I felt about myself. In talking someone else through the rough spots I am talking myself through.”

little boy

When we are down and out, the last thing we want to think about is helping others. It takes all of our gumption to get ourselves out of bed in the morning much less the effort to help someone else. But what Mr. Haag says in the article is so true. If we take just one ounce of energy and put it toward encouraging someone else, we find that we suddenly have more. More energy, more peace, more joy, more. I can’t explain it, but I think we all know deep down it is true. If you have never tried it, today is the day. I know this is a great reminder for me. I want to be an encourager of others and I love how I feel in return.

“Now in every race that I run I seek out those who look like they could use a little help or inspiration and try to offer some words of encouragement. I think life is the same, if we will try to find opportunities to help and give then usually we are the ones who receive the most.”

Whether you feel like it today or not, experiment and encourage someone around you. Genuinely care about them, and see what comes back your direction. It might just be the key to get us through the last 6.2 mile challenge we have in front of us.

Part 2: The Last 6.2 Miles of a Marathon

If you are just tuning in, I found a great article recently that is helping me walk step by step through my marathon of life. On March 29th 2012 Ryan Haag posted “My Experiences With The Last 6.2 Miles Of The Marathon” http://www.runningthroughlife.com/2012/03/29/my-experiences-with-the-last-6-2-miles-of-the-marathon/ and he touched on some pretty amazing correlations between his last 6.2 miles and how we have to run the race of life.

Friday we looked at the last 6.2 miles of the marathon. This is important, because the marathon is somewhat “easy” towards the beginning, but as it continues, it gets harder and harder to the point where you can only focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

PERSEVERANCE!

Marathon runners

Today’s subject is very similar because I don’t think we can take the subject of perseverance too lightly and only mention it and move on. As I continued to read Ryan Haag’s article he started describing a number of his last 6.2 miles experiences.

He shares “It was not long after this (seeing the 21 mile marker) that I experienced what has been my nemesis in the final miles of all but one of my marathons, which is cramping in my hamstrings.”

And his marathon a year later, “the hamstring cramps that I had felt the year earlier returned with a vengeance. I was trying to run straight legged and hobble the best I could but my pace started to slow. I found myself gritting my teeth and kind of growling to try to persevere through the pain.”

I do not want to make light of Mr. Haag’s pain and suffering, but I started to laugh as I read about him running straight legged and hobbling. Don’t get me wrong, it was not a laugh because I thought it was funny, it was a laugh because I feel right now, today, that I am hobbling and just trying to make it. I envisioned myself as the one doing all I could to keep going even if it meant running straight legged and hobbling.

One of the goals I have been working in this year, among others, is the physical goal of getting into better shape and strengthening my back (a cause of pain for me for years). I have made great progress with the help of my personal trainer. We have discovered and improved one area of my back, but with that improvement, my hip which has had to compensate for my bad back all of these years is now screaming. I know I am making progress. I know I am getting stronger. But I feel like I am having to run straight legged and hobbling. And yes, I have growled too!

Your struggle may be physical, it may be mental, emotional, spiritual, relational, financial.. Whatever it is, it can be hard!

The article continues “with about 2 miles to go someone was passing out ice cold wash clothes which I used to wipe my hot, salt crusted head and body with and then just laid it on my bald head while I ran. It was possibly the most refreshing thing I have ever felt.”

Each day we are blessed with “cold wash clothes” but sometimes in the middle of the mess and pain we don’t see how much of a blessing they are. There is no doubt that Mr. Haag had to focus all of his being on putting one foot in front of the other, but he was able to feel the refreshment that came his way that day. It may come from another person, it may come from nature, where ever it comes from, grab it, hold onto it and allow it to help encourage us in our race.

Stop for just a second and think about a “cold wash cloth” experience you have had recently. Take time to enjoy it! Then keep hobbling FORWARD!

The Last 6.2 Miles Of A Marathon

This morning I googled “what is the hardest mile of a marathon?” because that is where I feel like I am in life right now. I always teach that life is more of a marathon compared to a sprint. We just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.

Well, I am doing that and I suspect you are too, but doesn’t it get to the point at times when you feel fatigued, like your life is getting “cramped up”, like the finish line is too far away?

That is how I feel today and have been feeling for a few weeks now. I am pushing forward in a number of areas of my life, but I’ve lost my excitement, I’m struggling to stay confident, and I question whether I’m running the right race.

marathon water

My Google search brought me to a blog called Run Through Life: Tips and Experiences on Running & Other Important Things In Life. http://www.runningthroughlife.com

On March 29th 2012 Ryan Haag posted “My Experiences With The Last 6.2 Miles Of The Marathon” http://www.runningthroughlife.com/2012/03/29/my-experiences-with-the-last-6-2-miles-of-the-marathon/ and he touched on some pretty amazing correlations between his last 6.2 miles and how I feel in life right now. I want to fill this blog post with all of his insights, but I am going to take one at a time. I need to chew on each of them and figure out what each of them mean to me and how I can apply them to make the “stretch of life” less cumbersome.

Today’s insight is: “When I start a race I am usually thinking in five mile increments and then the farther I get into the race my goals shorten to water stops and then to 1 mile at a time and during the final few miles it goes to one step at a time.”

As I reflect on my life and current goals, I can see this same thing. I am probably to the point where I am looking for water stops. But this does not encourage me because it means that it is going to get harder. It means that I am going to get to the point where I can barely lift one foot to put it in front of the other.

Does it help to know that this phase of my goals is around the bend? Maybe a little. I guess I know when I am there that it is a “normal” part of the race. That others have come before me and persevered through this part to cross the finish line.

But I think what motivates me more is to know that many before me have stopped just short of the finish line and I don’t want to be that person. I do want to persevere!

“It is during that last 6.2 miles where you really have to reach down into yourself both physically and mentally and find strength that you previously didn’t know you had. The last 6.2 miles is what makes you better, stronger, more confident, yet humble person following the marathon. That 6.2 miles stretch gives you the confidence that there is nothing that can stop you from attaining your dreams but also makes you so grateful for all of the gifts that you have been given.”

Where are you on your current race of life? Are you feeling good watching the miles pass with ease? Are you starting to feel the fatigue? Or are you just trying to put one foot in front of the other?

Hang in there! Keep going! Don’t stop! Others have persevered and you can too!

More to come…