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There’s no doubt in my mind that the process of training for a marathon will be difficult.  I’m still struggling to get to four miles…hopefully will reach 26 by the end of the year.  I’ve always assumed that training and racing will be arduous tasks, that will hopefully be well worth it when I achieve my goals.  Nothing meaningful ever comes easily in life…right?  Perhaps the cliché isn’t as true as we’re led to believe.

I recently read an article where the author bemoaned the fact that his readers wouldn’t support a charity, despite how simple and painless (and free) it would be to help out.  It was a good point-why wouldn’t people take a few minutes out of their lives to help out a worthy cause?  Maybe it was too easy?  Perhaps giving to a charity means more when you’re actually out there volunteering your time and energy and effort…or money.  On the other hand, why do we only value things that are difficult?  Is this high regard for struggle and difficulty a result of our Puritanical roots?  It’s interesting that suffering is so revered…even years into the new millennium.

In terms of running, statistics show that less than one percent of the population actually completes a marathon.  Is it an achievement purely because it’s difficult?  I’ll let my faithful readers know someday…I’d love to forever brag that I ran a marathon 🙂  However, not every moment of training has to be a struggle.  There’s the runner’s high…getting stronger physically and mentally…the stress relief…the physical joy of movement…the escape from the people and things that can drive you crazy…and so on.  If the journey to the finish line was only about pain and struggle, I wouldn’t do it, and I doubt that others would either.

Yes there are real joys of running…which don’t always motivate me to run when I’m feeling too lazy or tired.  And I’m sure the races (that I’ve yet to run) will be mainly struggle and difficulty.  Running is a metaphor for life, changing with the seasons…sometimes there will be pain and heartache, other times will be easy and carefree…and many times will be a combination of both.  We should be grateful for the experiences and relationships and runs that are easy…they are just as important as the struggles.

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