I work for a small company that manages programs for large companies. My department develops software. It is a fast paced, high pressure environment, to put it politely. Stress is the norm as every day is filled with non-stop emergencies, real and perceived. One day my manager called a meeting with several members of the team, including a contractor who had been with us for a few months. As the boss fired off questions about the status of a project there was tension in the air. After about 5 minutes the contractor stood up and calmly stated “I think… I would like to quit now.” He left the room and was never seen again.
“I think I would like to quit now” has become a common phrase at the office. It is our way of saying today is not a good one. I say it a lot. Usually in jest, sometimes not so much. In the middle of the hardest week of my marathon training plan, I’m tempted to say it about running. I ran 5 miles Monday, 10 yesterday, and 5 today. Saturday’s schedule calls for a 20 mile run, the closest I will come to a full marathon in training. If you read my post about the wall, you’ll remember mile 19 is where things tend to take a turn for the worse. So, Saturday I will have my last chance to test my wall-avoidance strategies. And, it will take me past the dreaded Mile 19.
But, successful or not, a 20 mile run is brutal and takes a toll on the body. I’m already in a lot of pain in my feet, legs and hips from running an average of 33 miles a week for the last 4 weeks. If all goes as planned I will complete a total of 40 this week. Then a week from Sunday I run the Brooksie Way half marathon. So yes, a part of me wants to say “I think… I would like to quit now.” But I can’t. And I need to keep reminding myself why. For one thing, I’ve been way too public about my training. I would be embarrassed not to see it through at this point. So many friends and family members have encouraged me and given generously to World Vision. If I quit now I would feel I am letting them down.
But my biggest reason to push forward is the kids in Africa who will be the beneficiaries of the generosity of my supporters. As of today, I have raised enough money to provide clean water for life for 123 of them. As I complete my training and run the Chicago Marathon, I hope to raise even more. Until their villages get clean water, they will typically walk 3 or 4 miles a day, every day, to fetch water. Because they provide their families’ only source of water, they can’t quit. And so, I won’t either. I will push through my 20 miler on Saturday and then my final 3 weeks of training. I will think of those kids, pray for them, and keep running, no matter how hard or painful. Because for them, and for me, quitting is not an option.
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