Monday, September 16, 2013

Working my way through in little bites

I went to bed Friday night, not in anticipation of the weekend, but with dread of Saturday morning.  I was faced with doing a twenty mile training run for the marathon.  And yes, even the thought was overwhelming.  The temperature was in the mid-40s when I arose, FIFTY degrees cooler than Wednesday afternoon last week.  I could think of a dozen really good reasons not to do this monumental task.  But I knew if I am going to be ready for the marathon four weeks from now, there was no way around it.

For the moment
     all discipline seems painful
                    rather than pleasant;
   it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness
to those who have been trained by it.

                   Hebrews 12.11

None of us like the painful stuff, but 
that training will give me the strength
                  I will desperately need.

I  stuffed a handful of bite-size Snickers into the teeny pocket of my running shorts, prayed for strength, and headed out the door.  As I ran the first two miles, I had to decide what route to choose.  There is a long path that runs ten miles in a straight unbearable line to the interstate and back.  Or I could choose to head in the opposite direction and cobble together some shorter links -- to the railroad bridge, up another arm of the trail to the farm park, back to the railroad bridge, through a neighboring town to the farmers' market, hopping from one operable water fountain to the next, and then back home.   It would still add up to twenty miles, but in bite-size pieces.

I chose the a la carte route and thought of it as a series of shorter runs, a lot easier to wrap my mind around.   It was not so bad at all when I looked at it that way, basically broken down into three mile bites with a little leftover.

My grandmother was born in the 1880s on a farm in Kentucky.  She once told me when you have a huge pile of logs to split, while you are working, face the pile you have finished. Watch it grow.  It doesn't change the amount of work, just your perception of it.

I am currently reading the unabridged version of Les Miserables, a huge undertaking at 1500 pages. I have wanted to read it for years but just couldn't bring myself to do it.   So now, I am reading it over the course of this whole year, chapter by chapter, a few pages at a time in a waiting room or in the evening, here and there.  As of today, I am on page 615, having already slogged through extended chapters about the Battle of Waterloo, but loving the depth of the characters and the book's incredible story of God's grace.

Little bites.  What else do I need to nibble on?

And you?

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