by Michael Wilder
On a 4×4 piece of wood, painted white, attached to the wall where I hang my medals, this verse reference is seen in black paint:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1
Out of that verse, one phrase sums up my 2016 running life and another phrase my future 2017 running life:
“…Surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses…”
“…Run with perseverance…”
For 2016, I found myself in a very interesting spot. I have only been running for 6 years, and by no means am I an expert in the field of running. I always found myself reading or seeking advice from others. However, in 2016 I was thrust into a role similar to an expert but better, a coach. My longtime friend starting getting into running as a way to lose weight, but like most of us he fell in love with the sport and wanted to make it a lifestyle. Just assuming here, but my being an experienced runner with several races under my belt as well as our friendship led him to pick me as his running coach. After him sharing his desire early in 2016 to run a marathon, we both signed up for the Disney World Marathon for January 2017. After that moment I assumed this coaching role. We would train together during this year, he would call me throughout this year to get advice, and I held him accountable for his new running life. This coaching role in 2016 has been great for me. Why…because I was surround by a great friend who helped me change how I viewed running. I now see running as a journey in which I enjoy. I run now because I love the process/change. Being a “coach” made me see this process play out. It is funny how other people help you see things differently. I like being surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.
For 2017 I challenged myself to run with perseverance. I made a goal for myself to reach 1,000 miles by year’s end. Doing the math, that’s 20 miles a week. I never do 20 miles a week unless I am training for a marathon, in which for 2017 I have no current plans to do any races. This goal however is a year-long race that will require perseverance. There will be weeks in which I will not be feeling it, especially in the hot summer months. But I am determined to run the race marked out for me. I know I can, and at the end of this year I might have to buy myself the 1,000-mile medal to add to my collection.