Now it has been almost a year and this start line means many more things to me. Now I see it more as "NO Limits", because this year, on May 3rd, I am running the Half Marathon. Now, I've run a half marathon already, so the distance isn't necessarily the milestone, but what it has taken to train for this one. The route for this race is full of massive hills, over 500ft uphill climb between kilometer 2 and kilometer 7, 4.5 miles of rocky trails. When I first signed up for this race all my friends, runners and non-runners, told me I was crazy because of the route difficulty, and at the time I agreed! I simply wanted to do it as a milestone of having been racing a year. I have been working on running hills once a week every week since the beginning of February, and after 10 weeks of training I have learned not only new things about running and training, but new things about myself.
1) Hills are HARD! The first week I stared up the "one mile hill" that is only 2.5km into the race route I thought I was gonna die. Heading up the hill, gaining about 250ft in elevation, I had to walk several times. That day was just a short 8k, so when I got to the top I turned around and ran back down it as I headed back to the car. That day almost did me in mentally, I knew it was going to be hard, but I didn't realize how hard.
2) Hills get EASIER with consistent practice. After two weeks of going to run parts of the route (adding a km in length each week) I made it up the first hill without walking! It wasn't anything fast, but I did it!
3) Unexpected hills can be demoralizing. About 5 weeks in I switched from out and backs to loops since my distance was getting long enough to allow it. The first week I did a loop I made it up the first hill strong, headed past where I normally turn around, and was suddenly faced with a second HUGE uphill (another 250ft climb) that I wasn't ready for. It zapped me mentally, which killed my run.
4) Knowing what's coming and being prepared for it is the best way to handle hills. After the demoralizing week I knew what was ahead and started carrying extra GU gel, water, and mentally knew what I was facing, and it has gotten way easier.
5) Consistent work and preparation take you from not being able to go up 1 hill, to being able to handle a course with several massive hills. This route has 3, and after today I can say I am prepared for them.
Now, I've learned a lot about training and running and getting stronger on my runs, but it also has taught me a lot about handling the hard stuff in life. "Hills" in life usually are some form of trial, but can also be something as simple as allowing myself to fall into a trap of not hearing God's voice and listening to Satan's lies. Just as I have to have discipline in my running to handle hills on a route, I also have to have discipline in my personal life to handle the trials that come.
Running - - - - - Life
Eat Healthy - - - Don't listen to or watch junk
Get Coaching - - Spend time in the presence of God and Godly people
Practice - - - - - Memorize scripture
Don't Let The Bad Runs Keep You Down - - - I have bad days, days that life gets to me, but they can't keep me down. Getting back up is the important part.
Rest Well - - - Take time when I need it to get away from life and recharge spiritually and emotionally
Be Consistent - - - Little pieces of time with God on a consistent basis keep life more stable than just mega-dosing in a crisis.
So, after 10 weeks of training, only 2.5 weeks from today is race day, N.O. Limits has really come to mean "NO Limits" for me. Not only can I do things physically I never thought, but with a right relationship with God there are no limits to how He can use my life.
Hebrews 12:1-3 "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."