I ran 15.03 miles this morning. It took me 2 hours, 13 minutes, and 1 second (an average pace of 8 minutes and 51 seconds per mile): the longest and the furthest I’ve ever run in my life! Honestly, though, the physical challenges on this run — while plenty formidable — were not as great as the mental challenges.
With it being the summer travel season and everything, everyone from our informal running group ended up needing to run, individually. So that meant 2 hours, 13 minutes, and 1 second of nothing but me, my thoughts, and my prayers. I was hyper-aware of my body, constantly asking myself: Is this a good pace that I’ll be able to sustain? Am I drinking enough water? Am I drinking too much water? What does it mean that the balls of my feet are feeling strangely warm? How far will this incline in the road continue? The level of weariness was far from constant. I felt like I had to grind out miles 3 through 11, but then miles 12, 13, and 14 were pretty easy cruising. Mile 15 was a challenge, again. Even when I found myself within a quarter-mile of home — when I’d normally be “galloping towards the stables” — I really wanted to stop… But I didn’t.
There was an obvious question that I kept asking myself on this run, especially during the stretches of road that were difficult: Why am I doing this?
Of course, there are several reasons. I’m running to build and maintain physical fitness, as I age. I’m running to burn off the calories that come from eating the foods I enjoy. I’m running to enjoy the camaraderie of other friends who are also running. I’m running to test the limits of what I can accomplish. I’m running to tick off one of the great “Bucket List” items, training to enable myself to finish a marathon. But there’s one more reason that I’m running, and it seems like this might be a good opportunity to share it:
I’m Running for Freedom.
Together with my other running friends / training partners for the full-marathon distance at the Hall of Fame City Challenge in Canton, we decided it might be fun — and beneficial — to run for a cause. Consequently, we decided to start a campaign to raise funds for International Justice Mission, a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. I’ve really grown to respect this organization, as I’ve learned more about them — and it seems like this marathon is a great opportunity to raise awareness and raise money to support their ongoing work.
Would you consider helping to sponsor our group as we’re Running for Freedom? We’ve just recently received our first donation from our first supporter, but we’ve got a ways to go before we reach our goal. So: Any help you might be interested in providing would be greatly appreciated! To learn more and to contribute, visit our FreedomMaker Page (which routes 100 percent of all gifts to IJM’s work).