One of the things that I love most about running is that it's tough. I love the challenge - the feel of my heart pumping, lungs taking air in and pushing it out, muscles burning, mind fighting for positive thoughts. Running is hard. Perhaps body build, level of God-given ability, and past experience makes running more difficult for some than others, but we're all out there pushing ourselves when we run.
This morning, I had the opportunity to watch the Hands on House Half Marathon. I'd been planning to be there since my sister told me about her intent to sign up several months ago. This was not her first half-marathon, but it was her first since receiving a painful health diagnosis this summer. My sister has always impressed me with her quiet strength - her ability to push through with humility. I knew this would be a different race for her. Training was hampered by mornings where she would have difficulty walking or getting her shoes on. But she kept at it, without complaint or bitterness. Her achievement today demonstrates her perseverance; she pushed ahead, despite the pain, and finished strong. Watching her afterwards, it was evident that she didn't have the kind of race that she had hoped for, her disappointment apparent in her face. But in my eyes, each day that she is out there, putting one foot in front of the other, is a huge accomplishment. In my eyes, she's a superhero - attempting things that seem impossible for mere humans, hanging tough, inspiring others.
I know this was one of many stories today. Friends running first half marathons, others running for a cause, the Amish running complete with head coverings or suspenders - they each gave themselves to the process of training and faced something deep within themselves while competing out there today. When I watch, I wonder about their stories, and I feel their courage and strength.