Six Miles and Chariots of Fire

6 miles on Saturday.  I never thought I’d run that far.  A year ago, I couldn’t run more than a block.  A short block.  Each mile I’ve added has been a surprise to me—when I hit two miles, I thought that was as far as I would ever be able to go… and then a month after that, I ran three.  In October, it was four miles.  In November, I ran five and thought that was it.  A 10K would never be in my reach.

I wonder now how many often I do the same in other areas of my life.  I know at one point I thought that way about home schooling—“I’d never be able to do that!”—and now it’s been six years.  At one point, I thought the same about medical school.

We watched Chariots of Fire last week.  Runner’s World had an article about the making of the movie and the history of that team.  I’ve always loved the movie, and this viewing was no different.  My children had mixed reactions.  During the opening credits, when the team is running on the beach, SweetP kept up a commentary, “He’s dirty!  Oh, he’s dirty, too.  He’s not dirty.  Ooo, he’s really dirty!”  O is my runner, and he watched, enraptured, as I knew he would.  I watched him at the end (rather than the movie) because I wanted to see his shining face.

I have two favorite parts: first, when Eric Liddel is talking with his sister about running, he tells her that God made him for a purpose, but He also made him fast, and when he runs, he feels God’s pleasure.  Second, when Harold Abrahams loses the first time, he freaks out.  His girlfriend comes to talk him out of his funk, and he tells her he doesn’t run to lose, and if he can’t win, he won’t run.  “If you don’t run, you can’t win,” she says.

I will never win a running race, but I have learned so much about myself—aside from the joy of logging beautiful (and some not-so-beautiful) hours outside on my feet—in this process.  The biggest lesson for me has been that baby steps: lots of them, strung along in row, actually get me somewhere.  I can’t wait to see where baby steps take me next.

Bald Eagle

(This is the bald eagle we saw in a tree overlooking the path at mile 5.)

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