Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lessons from the Pack

"Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance."
-Samuel Johnson


Well, I've recently signed on to do one of the craziest things I've ever attempted in my life: I registered for a GORUCK Challenge. One of the tag lines is "8-10 hours. 15-20 miles. Good livin'." Basically, it involves the aforementioned hours of miles wearing a ruck (short for rucksack-- a military type backpack) filled with 4 bricks (yes, the building kind that you buy at Home Depot) among other things. At the risk of frightening my mother, I'll post the link, in case you're curious: https://www.goruckchallenge.com/Events/Challenge

Why I would sign up to do such a thing will be the subject of another post, probably when I'm on the other side of the GORUCK. Because by then, maybe I can answer that question.



I'm learning much through training. I've begun running 4 miles at a time with first 2 bricks and now 3 bricks. I'm slowing building miles and adding bricks. I've never before run under added weight, except for 16 oz of water that I carry in my fuel belt and a few Cliff bars or gels, so this has been a whole new experience. Running has always been such a blatant metaphor for life to me. On yesterday's run, carrying the weight on my shoulders, I couldn't miss the message. 

Each step became more difficult. At times I felt the pack was too much, and that I could no longer go forward. The burden seemed heavier with each minute that passed. The load increasingly becoming more noticeable. I wavered between moments of "Just stop; it's not worth the effort it takes to continue down this path," and "I can do this; I will not stop." I questioned my goals and my ability to achieve them. And then a wave of understanding crushed me. God reminded me of my former students who have lost a parent, of a friend who's granddaughter has a brain tumor, of a friend who's child has a disease that alters every day, of friends who have suffered miscarriages, of friends who have lost loved ones too early. I prayed for them all, heartbroken for the weights that they carry-- weights that they can't take off at the end of a run.

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