** I’ve been taking a different approach to our Porn to Purity blog this week. I’m reflecting on my experiences training for and running the Buffalo Marathon in 2003. There are many parallels to being successful in our sexual purity journey.
Perhaps this marathon metaphor will help you think about your purity journey in a different light?
It was so exciting to get to race day in the Buffalo Marathon! I had trained for 5 months.
GET TO THE STARTING LINE
The first goal of training for a marathon is get to the starting line. Train hard. But train smart. Train in such a way that you maximize your chances of not getting injured.
AN EMOTIONAL MOMENT
It was such a thrill to get to the starting line. There’s such an excitement. But I was surprised at the emotions that welled up in me. A little teary for a moment. So much training and commitment to arrive at this moment.
THE FIRST MILE IS EASY
The first leg is the easiest. The party had started. Emotions were running high. Music was playing. People were talking and cheering.
I felt no pain during Mile 1. I think I ran the first mile a little faster than normal out of sheer excitement.
THE NEXT 24 MILES ARE HELL
Then the reality of the race kicks in. After Mile 1 the spectators thin out. Many runners move ahead of me. And very quickly I can feel isolated on my own.
The pains didn’t kick in for a while, probably mile 7. But at some point you realize you’re not running a fun run, you’re in a marathon.
The marathon starts to bite back when…
Pains come – My first pain was a tight calve muscle that I had to stop and nurse.
You hit significant mile markers – Getting to Miles 3, 6, 10 & 13 were challenging. Those were places I’ve all gotten to before, but I knew I still had a long way to go.
Other people succeed and you’re still going – The Buffalo Marathon course was laid out badly. The halfway point for the full marathon was also the finish line for the half marathon. So I got to mile 13, people were cheering, then the full marathoners were steered around the building away from the crowds — still with 13.1 miles left to go. It was very difficult emotionally.
Hitting a Wall – I hit a personal Wall at Mile 18.
A “Wall” is the place where your body has had enough and is trying to give up. Sometimes runners can’t go on and pass out. This is the tough place where you have to find strength.
Physically, emotionally and even spiritually I wanted to give up at Mile 18. This is where I had to call on God for strength and decide if I really wanted to finish or not.
It seems like this is the place where I had to keep going “one step further”. Just put one foot in front of the other. I did a lot of walking at mile 18.
Eventually, I got my second wind. Instead of walking and hobbling, I was mixing in some jogging. I knew that it would be over eventually and I would find the finish line.
CROSSING THE FINISH LINE
Crossing the finish line was a moment of pure elation mixed with exhaustion. There were very few people there to greet me. I was someone had stuck around to call my name out on the microphone. But my wife and kids were there to cheer me on.
It’s amazing how seeing the finish line and seeing my family cause me to pick up and run again, even after completing 26 miles.
- My commitment to run and train was probably more important than running the race.
- The early miles are easy, the later miles can be very difficult.
- The test for many marathoners comes when they hit “the Wall”.
- The finish line is reward enough for the marathoner.
A BLISTERING FINISH TIME
Below is my official time of 6:39:57. Third from last (see below). The only two people I beat were a lady in her 80s and a guy in his 30s that had not trained much.
It’s laughable. But it is, hands down, one of the most proud moments of my life.
I had accomplished a life goal. I was not able to run even 1 mile three years earlier, but had trained hard enough to finish a marathon!
Marathon / Sexual Addiction Posts:
1.0 – Running a Marathon on 5k Legs
2.0 – Training For a Marathon: 3 Essentials That Will Save You
3.0 – Training For a Marathon: Hurting in New Places & Finding Balance
4.0 – Race Day: The Lowest Lows and the Highest Highs