The Middle.

Two marathons. Another marathon build up. Houston Half Marathon Championships. Workouts. Training. More Training. Food. Sleep. Training. Sleep. Food. Gym. More Food. More Sleep.

Mammoth has given us some gorgeous training weather. I have tons to be thankful for, like a great PR at the Houston Half Champs, running 1:12.01 and clear trails for afternoon runs. It’s like Spring. Sadly, we need snow. But, I’m silently being thankful. Thankful I can enjoy Mammoth in the winter. Thankful I can get out the door without yack-tracks or feeling like a baby deer.

Houston Half Champs '15

Houston Half Champs ’15

There’s a lot that goes into marathon training: dedication, focus, grit, patience, joy, embracing disappointment…then pushing forward.

I’ve been re-reading “Bittersweet” by Shauna Niequist, and I’m rejoicing in this season of life filled with sweet, but somehow simmering in the bittersweet, too. And, I smiled as I read a chapter titled The Middle, and I couldn’t help but let it sink in and then realize marathon training is summed up by the middle:

“There is nothing worse than the middle. At the beginning, you have a little arrogance, loads of buoyancy. The journey, whatever it is, looks beautiful and bright, and you are filled with resolve and silver strength, sure that whatever the future holds, you will face it with optimism and chutzpah. It’s like the first day of school, and you’re wearing the outfit you laid out last night, backpack full of sharpened yellow pencils.

And the end is beautiful. You are wiser, better, deeper. You know things you didn’t previously know, you’ve shed things you previously clung to. The end is revelation, resolution, a soft place to land.

But, oh, the middle. I hate the middle. The middle is the fog, the exhaustion, the loneliness, the daily battle against despair and the nagging fear that tomorrow will be just like today, only you’ll be wearier and less able to defend yourself against it. The middle is the lonely place, when you can’t find words to say how deeply empty you feel, when you try to connect but you feel like the thick glass is separating you from the rest of the world, isolating and deadening everything.

Marathon training isn’t always that isolating, but it can be. Some build-ups will be filled with seamless training, and others might be a lot more pushing through disappointments or nagging fears. But, that’s the beauty of marathon training. At the end, there is resolution, rejoicing, excitement.

So, I try to remember to be propelled forward with God’s strength, with the silver lining of His greater purpose.

I read a “Jesus Today” devotional the other day, and I’ve read it over and over in the past few days.

“The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”-Zephaniah 3:17

“The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.”-Psalm 29:11

When you’re in the middle, remember there is an end, a silver lining, and rejoicing that will happen.

The middle is where you learn, grown, prepare: it’s the sandwich to a marathon. Without miles 17-21 or 22-25 or the last 10k, it wouldn’t be marathon. So, it’s only fitting that marathon training looks like the race. If you get through that section, you’ll experience the phenomena of finishing and rejoicing.


4 thoughts on “The Middle.

  1. This is exactly what I needed to hear today! I have my next half marathon in 2 weeks and when I started training for it 3 months ago I was all excited and gungho about running a big PR but the past two weeks have been bitterly cold and we’ve gotten 5 FEET of snow so there’s been a lot of treadmill running… it’s so easy to get discouraged during this “middle” time but now I am looking forward to the “end” which isn’t all that far away when I think about it now! 😀

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