It was October 7th, 2012…a Sunday. Why Stephanie decided to reinforce my ridiculous idea to run a full marathon with basically ZERO bits of running experience in life thus far, I do not know. What was even more surprising was that she did this after just finishing the same year-long process herself! Anyway, there we were…running the Chicago Marathon for Team World Vision…and we (literally) ran across the poster that summed up our feelings & thoughts exactly. It said, “Punch anyone who says you’re almost there.” As you can see, we connected so much to this poster that we decided to sacrifice our awesome positions in the race to take a quick photo. It was just too awesome to pass up!
Now, fast forward to 2014…Stephanie and I began training for a half marathon. As SOON as I made this decision, I thought to myself, “Why in the world are you doing this!?!?!?” Let me just clarify…I do not have a runner physique, I do not enjoy running very much, and I’m not all that good at it. So, why?? As I wrapped my head around this question, I began to realize that, for me, there is something very reinforcing about meeting big, long-term goals. There was honestly nothing like crossing that marathon finish line back in 2012. That second of my life was one of the best examples of delayed gratification that I may ever personally experience. But that can’t be it, right? The fact is, training for an entire year at something that you aren’t good at and don’t like to do is a LOT of response effort. So you’d think there must be other, more immediate reinforcers along the way, right? For me, one of those reinforcers was seeing my donation money rise each week & knowing it was going to an amazing cause. The one I want to talk about the most, though, is the invaluable bond that grows between two people who run the race together.
Don’t get me wrong, there were probably many days that one of us was oh so annoyed with the other. Whether it was because they wanted to run too fast, too far without stopping, or even at all…no joke. Regardless of our words or actions, there was something about the comradery of working towards a common cause/long-term goal that was constantly reinforcing my hard work. I truly believe that God places particular people in our lives that are a perfect match for each of us in this way.
The race that Stephanie and I ran 2 years ago is, in many respects, similar to the race that we have been running since 2011. I’ll call that race the “FOC” race. Never did I think the FOC race would be as long and tiring as it has been. Looking back, it definitely wasn’t a race that I could have run with just anyone. And even though we haven’t quite contacted the “BIG” reinforcer that we’ve been waiting on for so long, the ongoing reinforcement of comradery with a business partner that was hand-picked for me is more than enough to keep running. I can even say that, “We’re almost there!!!” without a single flinch. 🙂