Running is worship. The open skies, my cathedral, the bustling roads, the church aisles. Running is where I meet God.
I talk about this rarely. It's much easier to talk in terms of the German concept of *aufhenen* or the Japanese concept of *kaizen*, but at its simplest, most reduced state, for me running is about meeting God.
People wonder what I mean by this mysticism, what do I actually do when I run that makes me so much different than the cardio bunnies who wear the expensive sweats with PINK or JUICY written over their butts, those for whom running is mere exercise, mere fitness. Well, I don't recite scripture and I don't listen to Christian music when I run. I don't wear Christian t-shirts either. I've always found that to get in the way. No, I can't tell you what I do that's different. The difference doesn't lie on the surface.
Have you ever met with a friend and come away aglow in the joy of companionship? If someone asked you, "Hey, why are you so happy? What did you do?" you might answer "not much" and that would be a good parallel to what happens when I run. Or you might say "I met with a friend" and the question-asker would smile knowingly and that would describe my running exactly.
The marathon then, is my great day of worship, a day to pour out my heart in gratitide for the life I've been given, my way of honoring providence and blessing. For each mile I've picked out a person whose memories I want to invoke, whose life I want to pray for and whise presence I wish to honor. I wish I could run even more than 26 miles.
It's a day of great love. There are lots of things to hate about NYC. The MTA is near the top of everyone's list, I'm sure. But if you want to find something to love, run its marathon. "Baptism by boroughs" read one of the ads yesterday, and it'll feel like that as a full quarter of the population throngs the street to cheer 40,000 runners, plunging them beneath the waters of acceptance. For one day, New York comes out to say "I love you too."
And when I run on this day, I run wih a heart overflowing with love, joy. I've done the work. I've paid my dues, worn down my soles molecule by molecule. This is the big day, a day of testing and celebration. Count it all joy when you meet these tests in your life, for they lead to the perfection of your faith.
Thank you, friends, family for sharing in this day with me. I would not be who I am, where I am without you. Thank you.