Skip to main content

When We Struggle

I think probably one of the most consistent factors in the experience of any runner, in fact of any biker, swimmer, or athlete of any sort, is the struggle. It's inevitable, a rite of passage, a fact of life - and you could probably make the case that an athlete who never struggles probably isn't doing something right.

[Quick aside - it took me a long time to accept the moniker of "runner," but eventually it becomes a little absurd for someone who runs more days than they don't run to keep claiming they aren't a runner. But I still don't consider myself an athlete; I use the term here loosely.]

The past couple of weeks I have been struggling more than usual. I hit a perfect storm at the beginning of July: a family vacation (with all the overeating, overexerting, and under-sleeping that goes along with it), the first real heat of the Summer, and the steady strain of increased training miles. What's more, I have been plagued lately by blisters, nagging hip pain, and the diagnosis of a misaligned pelvis. As a result, I ran headlong into a slump of challenging runs and disappointing paces. I'm still working to get myself out of that slump, both physically and mentally. It's not easy with continued warm weather and a significant heatwave forecasted for this week. So I'm trying to work on giving myself a little grace, while also strengthening my resolve to learn from this experience.


No one really enjoys struggling. But that doesn't mean we don't choose it. There's something about the human condition that seems to require struggle for growth. We recognize that, and so we sometimes seek it out. Runners understand this perhaps as well as anyone. In fact we employ a specific word to refer to struggling with a purpose: Endurance.

We define our hobby as an Endurance sport. When we subject our friends and family to talk of pace and distance, hydration and nutrition, heat and sweat and pain - we're talking about Endurance. But the important factor that distinguishes a struggle as Endurance is choice. Choice is what differentiates Endurance from suffering. "To suffer" is passive, to be afflicted with hardship, to experience a struggle, to hurt. But "to Endure" is an active verb, a word with intentionality and purpose. We Endure because we see something greater in the struggle.
To Endure: to remain firm under suffering or misfortune without yielding.
The kids I run for, many of them suffer. They are born into a condition, a way of life they couldn't possibly have chosen, and one they can't see a way out of. Unsafe water, poor sanitation, malnutrition, child exploitation, hopelessness - these are the dangers facing kids in many communities across the globe. This is their struggle, their cause for suffering. And my reason for choosing to Endure. This is why #todayirun. This is why I've run 4 miles with a 40lb jerrycan on my shoulder. This is why I'm training for my 3rd marathon. This is why I hit the streets with a photo of a kid on my back. I choose this struggle to end theirs. I Endure so they don't have to suffer.


This is why I still have hope when things get hard. There is purpose in my struggle.

If you're interested in helping me spread hope by sponsoring a child, you can find one here. Or just reach out to me on facebook or instagram (or give me a call) - I'd be happy to talk more about child sponsorship.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

My Battle Cry

In July 2017 I wrote my last post about running. I wrote of Goals and of Cost, of Declaration and Revolution. In the intervening months I carried a 40 lb jerrycan of water through the Global 6k for Water in Chicago. I trained for and ran my second Chicago Marathon, propelled onward by an overwhelming crowd of supporters. I welcomed my wife across her first marathon finish line, followed by my sister Tracy. But most importantly, with your help we raised over $10,000 for clean water - that's over 200 lives changed forever by a humble gift of $50, to bring them access to a clean, fresh well and end the cycle of hauling surface water carrying parasites and disease and risk of death. Those 200 lives were well worth every mile. But there's more to fight for.
Then came a season of recovery. Many of you haven't heard from me for over a year, because I didn't run a Marathon last year. But that doesn't mean I stopped moving. During the cool early months of 2018, I met weekl…

Why Child Sponsorship?

It's probably fairly safe to say that if you've gotten so far as to open my blog, you likely have an idea of why Child Sponsorship is important. You may know some of the facts, or you're just generally aware of the vast disparities in quality of life around the globe.  You may even have some internal gnawing that nudges you toward action. If that's the case, then I don't need to tell you the statistics and logistics of Child Sponsorship. I don't need to tell you why you should sponsor a child.
What I do feel an need to share is why my family has chosen to sponsor children. I make this distinction because Child Sponsorship is a commitment that people often enter into for very personal and important reasons. Though the what and the how are similar, the why is unique to you. And to us.
At the core, my wife and I sponsor two little boys, Victor and Omar, because we couldn't justify reserving the blessings in our lives for ourselves. 
When our first son was sti…