Consecrated to the Heart of the Redeemer under the patronage of the Theotokos and Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

12 September 2013

26.2 and Beyond

I am sorely remiss...well, at least I am informing my eager readership about the outcome of my first marathon attempt. Wanna hear it? Here it goes:
For "Gun Time" (between the beginning and my beginning), add fifty seconds
Woo-hoo, as they say--and indeed, I was pleasantly surprised that I (a) finished without bonking, (2) finished within the time I predicted, and (ɣ) was ranked as I was among the other participants overall and in my age group.

There is room for improvement--it's the largest room in the house! And this suggests my complete willingness to enter another marathon.

In the last post I mentioned I do not style myself a competitive runner, as I have not contested many races thus far. But from an early age, with respect to those domains of interest to me (academic, musical), I have been competitively-minded; and with practice, who knows whether I can beat--at the very least--my previous time?

My seminary days taught me that there will always be brighter, more personable, more ______ people than I. And...that's OK...I guess...yes, it is. As you may suspect, I continue to struggle with competition. To some degree it is healthy and perhaps even holy. "Anticipate one another in showing honor," St. Paul said (Rom 12:10), but perhaps only that context--the practice of virtue--is appropriate for competition. Even there, ego (Etching God Out) can obscure the purpose of our good deeds: to "let your light that [people] may...glorify your heavenly Father" (Mt 5:16). Strangely enough, another way to read "anticipate" is, "consider [the other] better, to esteem [the other] more highly": not attempting to score higher, but to recognize the achievements of your competitors. Now there's altruism! There's magnanimity!

I have gained a renewed respect for the art of running, knowing that I have much to learn if I wish to continue and improve. I have some confidence in the likelihood of finishing subsequent marathons. If only these knots in my muscles would untangle! In that vein, I am also becoming more sensitive to my body's aches. Exercise seems to cause pain, for which reason many people choose to avoid it. Instead, I accept aches and even injuries (only minor ones so far) as an occupational hazard if I want to pursue this particular mode of fitness. Accept, but make every attempt to remedy. Accept, but often run through.

Many people have lifted me up by their prayers/positive thoughts. Their names will be written in heaven. In their service the Lord deftly hides His command to "Go and Do Likewise" (Lk 10:37). Duly noted! Although this race was a way for me to "glorify God with [my] body" (1 Cor 6:20), running is a way to fit me for maximum service to God and neighbor, in and out of strictly ministerial contexts. But it's all ministry; it's all service. In so many respects, I need to remember that I am part of the human race, equally capable of encouraging fellow travelers. I look forward to encountering you along the Way!


  1. Wonderful! I'd been wondering how it went. Reminded me of my first "century" ride back when I was a competitive cyclist. I can't believe I used to do things like that!

    I like how you wrote "consider" the other better.... When I coached gymnastics I tried to teach my girls to appreciate the other gymnasts and their talents - one time I was commenting on how beautiful a particular gymnast's routine was, and one of my students asked me to stop because "that makes me feel discouraged." I've never understood that way of thinking and continue to "recognize the achievements of my competitors." It allows me to enjoy all the more the beauty and talent and discipline of others - which in turn keeps my own heart more open.

    As always, thanks!

    1. Well said, Shelly: let us always be able to appreciate the talents and efforts of others! I hope to be able to do this a couple more times at least; the growth in virtue can last well beyond my legs!