My wife and I have decided to do something crazy. We have decided to sign up for and run a two day 39.3 mile race. For those of you counting that is a marathon and one half. While sitting over lunch yesterday afternoon Jenn and I were discussing how fun it would be to go and run the 20th anniversary marathon at Walt Disney World. We ran Disney last year and had a ball running through all 4 parks. Just off hand I told Jenn, "it won't be worth it unless we do the goofy." The goofy challenge is a two day test of will running 13.1 miles on Saturday and 26.2 miles on Sunday. Well, Jennifer took my offhanded remark seriously, despite what she says, and convinced me to run the Disney goofy challenge.
While out on my run this morning I was thinking back to why I am drawn to run insane distances. I think deep down I am drawn to distance running because I was never supposed to be an athlete and running more miles in 5 hours than most do in their life is my way of proving them wrong.
Granted, I did play football when I was a in jr. high and early high school. Play might be to strong of a word, perhaps practice or wear a uniform might be more accurate. In fact as my runs get harder and longer I begin to chant under my breath my place in those years, 3rd string 3rd team. One time the coach pulled all the talented athletes over and gave them the Rudy talk telling them if they only had heart like little Faulk over there, they could accomplish something. He never gave me the if only you had talent like those guys speech.
When I distance run I feel I am doing something bigger than me. I guess that's why I'm really drawn to it. On a regular basis I look over at Jennifer and tell her, you realize we ran _____ number of miles today. I am still amazed that these two non athletic bodies can carry us so many miles.
Deep down I think all men want to be apart of something bigger than themselves. The truth about marathoning is that it will leave you empty in the end. It is incredibly exciting crossing the finish line thinking I just ran 26.2 miles, but just like anything else, that euphoria fades, medals collect dust and you are left with sore legs.
If the thrill of running 26.2 miles isn't enough, then what is enough, 39.3, ultra marathons, triathlons? A person could go from thrill fix to thrill fix looking the next thing to fill them up... But none of them will. The only thing that can fill the desire to be apart of something bigger than yourself is to have the God of the universe alive in your heart.
God has put a desire in every mans heart for something bigger than himself. We all look for cheap substitutes to fill it, when only God can. Is distance running bad, no, but it's not a replacement for God. Only God can fill the void of the heart.