There are too many reasons for why I run to list them here. But as I think about them they all seem to fall into some broad categories so I thought I would capture those here.
Sidebar: For some reason I get very emotional in the days leading up to a marathon. I don't know why but I seem to get sentimental and reflective during these days. I think it's because I withdraw into my bubble and block out the outside stresses of life. This means I have nothing to listen to except my own inner thoughts and feelings. Very scary!
Running marathons makes me feel alive and I need to be reminded of that. The ins and outs of life can become very routine after while. A few years ago I realized that I had become a slave to my daily routine. Most of that routine I am very happy to have like my kids and job. Those things I am very thankful for. I realized, however, that where once I would be torn between doing things for me and doing the things that my family and job needed, I had now given up the battle and given myself totally to outside influences. I was no long alive but was just a tool for others. I loved those things but I had a small voice inside my head saying, "Hey you! wake up! There can be a healthy balance between giving and taking in life. FIND IT!". It didn't happen overnight but eventually I took back some of my life and have come closer to finding that balance. I'm not there yet but marathoning is a big step towards that goal.
I wish I could take credit for the practice of assigning miles to things I am thankful for but I can't. I first heard of the practice from Kristin Armstrong who wrote an article about it in Runner's World. Basically you make a list of all the things that you are thankful for and assign miles of your marathon to them. As you run the miles you remember those things and give thanks for them.
I am going to use the 1st half of this years marathon to remember those in my life who are having troubles or are in need of prayers. That list is private because I don't want to violate any one's privacy by writing about their troubles on the Internet. In fact, I haven't even let those people who are on the list know that I will be praying for them. Silent prayers are the best and since God and I haven't been on speaking terms for awhile I need to do everything right if I have any hope of helping the people I want to remember.
The second 13 miles of the marathon will be a celebration of things I am thankful for. This list i want to share. My life has been so blessed that I will never be able to thank everyone who has played a role but I feel the need to try. So here it is, Willie's list for 2008 OKC marathon:
Mile 13 - My family. My kids and wife. Thank you for putting up with me and all my inner demons for so many years.
Mile 14 - My job. I am one of those luck people who has a job that I love. I look forward to going to work each day and I really enjoy the people I work with. I realize how rare this is and how lucky I am.
Mile 15 - OKC Landrunners Running Club for giving me inspiration and friends to help me along the way.
Mile 16 - My Mother for being a true saint. Wish you were here this year.
Mile 17 - My Father for being the one person on earth I think really feels the same way I do.
Mile 18 - My Grandfather who I will always remember and love and who influences my life even today many years after his death.
Mile 19 - Marshall Harrington who was a West Point graduate, Vietnam veteran, heart transplant recipient, and all around great man. He started me on my career and I owe him my success. Also my youngest son's namesake.
Mile 20(Where the race begins) - RBR because she has done this and I'm so proud of her for it. She brings humor and joy into my life (which I'll be needing at this point) and has actually called me her friend. This is still better than the swim in a Tri!!
Mile 21 - Calyx Meredith for being a third of my total blog readership and also a wonderfully inspirational person to me. You have made us all Stronger Than Before we met you.
Mile 22 - Southbay Girl. My first E-friend and my blogging inspiration. Thank you for sharing a part of your life with all of us.
Mile 23 - MSgt Vinnie Miller and the summer of 2005 for putting me back on the running path.
Mile 24 -For living in such a great country that lets me do what I love and live where I want. I am truly lucky to have been born here.
Mile 25 -For the men and women who keep this country free. Especially the airmen of the U.S. Air Force who I still think about daily and spend my career trying to help. May everyone serve with pride, do their duty, and come home soon.
Mile 26 I'll reserve this mile for all those things I have left off this list that will hit me like a lead brick when I start running this last mile. With tears in my eyes I will remember them and wish I had included them here.
Mile .2 - For being able to do this again I am thankful.
Thanks for listening