It was mile 75. Dark had settled into the woods and there would be no strong moon to fight it back tonight. Chuck’s hands were numb, hardly working. Things like peeling a banana, tying shoes, removing or adding layers of clothing were increasingly difficult.
Chris handed him a hand warmer. Chuck dropped it. Chris picked it up and tried again. Again that little square full of warmth hit the icy trail. “Um…I think you are going to have to shove it in my glove for me.”
As the last 25 miles ticked down, Chuck and Chris (who was pacing him) felt as though they were barely moving. Sometimes they were barely moving. Then suddenly Chuck would get a second wind and their fast hike became a run again… And on it went, a dark tunnel of running through the night from one reflecting trail marker to the next.
I’ve wondered what keeps these endurance racers going through the night, when they are cold, and numb, and tired, and alone somewhere deep in the mountains, running. What words do they speak to themselves? Or do they go somewhere inside and just keep going?
Ask yourself: ‘Can I give more?’. The answer is usually: ‘Yes’. -Paul Tergat, Kenyan professional marathoner
I’ve been thinking a lot about my parenting journey recently. I believe there is just as much for me to learn, grow in, and overcome in this whole “child-rearing” thing as for my kids.
But I’ll be honest, my hands have started to go numb. I’ve run over miles of trail, through births and toddler years, past the start of school and into emergency rooms. But I am not near the finish-line. The trail seems endless and unrewarding. I am growing numb in areas I don’t want to and I am sure I am blind in ways I cannot even see. I am tired. I want to quite. But I cannot. This is one race I cannot afford to not finish.
I need to find those words that keep me going. I need to go to that place inside that will not quit. I came across this quote the other day:
Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. -Robert Louis Stevenson
And it reminded me of this Bible verse:
So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. – 1 Corinthians 3:7
It really isn’t about me. And I am not alone. I think that helps keep me going.
So thank you. Thank you for picking up my hand warmer and stuffing it in my proverbial glove. Together, we can keep running.