Hello there. I’m so glad you could come. Have a seat. I’ve been looking forward to this little chat. Let’s talk about this ultramarathon business.
To refresh: Zack is training for a 50 mile ultramarathon (yes, I said 50 miles) this summer. The event takes place on June 15th. It will take him approximately 12 hours to complete, if he does indeed make it the full 50. He is gathering sponsors to pledge donations on a “per-mile” basis to raise money for our adoption. Since we’ve been doing that, this event has been under the spotlight somewhat. Therefore, a really long post highlighting it.
I’ll first address Zack’s training. He is not the Dragon Warrior. He cannot survive for weeks on the dew of a single gingko leaf and the energy of the universe. (Bonus points if you got the movie reference). He does need to train. He’s been carving all the time out that he can to get his 40 miles in a week. Some carefully calculated days, he runs to or from work (12 miles one way), and pretty much every weekend he runs at least 20 miles. Toss in an odd 3-6 miles peppered throughout the week, and he usually pulls it off. He is not running exclusively. In the ultramarathon fashion, he is running around 12 minute miles and walking up hills. This maintains his stamina for the long weekend runs which usually take him about 4 hours. In the half marathons that he has done he has run around 8 minute miles, so the “slowing down” alone has taken some mental training.
Ok, that’s the boring stuff – but I hope it’s reassured those that are convinced he’s doing something extra crazy. It’s really only moderately crazy. Like, 6/10 on a 0=easiest thing ever (falling off a log?) and 10=jumping out of a plane scale.
Now let’s talk about the really cool part of it. Like the UNCANNY PARALLELS between this race and the adoption we’re called to undertake. Both arduous, both somewhat dangerous, both risky, both unnatural, both kindof incredible. Both require trust, both require faith, both require a little streak of crazy. Oh yeah, now it’s gettin’ good.
Like the race, we have been training our minds and our spirits for the potential challenges we may face. Zack needs to learn what and when to eat, how to alter his pattern and timing, how to mentally focus on the end goal when running so far and long. We as a couple have read book after book about parenting techniques and adoption, role played situations, fasted and prayed for our future selves, and practiced patience with our existing children. These are ways we are training.
Like the race, the adoption will take stamina. Not only the waiting in the paperwork stage, but the road to healing and attachment is a long one with kids who come from hard places. We will need to focus on the end goal, wholeness, the overall picture – which can be hard to do when in the trenches of day to day life. Maintain a big picture attitude while taking it step by step. We will need to be careful not to compare these kids to other kids, but to themselves. Where are we compared to three months ago? Zack would be paralyzed thinking of the entire 50 miles every step he took. They say to run a 50 mile ultra is to run 4 – 12 mile runs. Make it through the first 2 weeks, then make it through the first 3 months, then make it through to 6 months, then to 1 year.
Like the race, it takes faith to trust that God is there to help you. Adoption is not easy. Running 50 miles is not easy. There exist a few gaps, because we are human. God is ready and willing to help to fill them in. Fear is easy to grasp when there are so many unknowns, but “faith is being sure of what we hope for…” Isn’t that all of life? Learning to rely on a seemingly invisible God, only to be surprised when he moves you like the wind moves the leaves. God, just maybe, could be the wind in our sails on race day and on adoption day.
Let’s talk about fasting. It’s a little arduous, going without food. It could be potentially dangerous, risky, certainly unnatural. But pretty incredible. It’s incredible because it requires faith. It requires trust, and sure, a little streak of crazy. It gets us to a higher place. A higher faith, and what is a seed of faith if you never plant it? It can’t grow into a tree sitting in the bag in the dusty corner of your shed.
God doesn’t call us to the easy things. God calls us to the things that not only advance his kingdom, but teach us to lean on him as well. This ultramarathon has been so uplifting for Zack, as every day he trains he is reminded of the big things that God calls us to do, and the ways that he works in our hearts to teach us more about trusting him.
We want to thank all of those who have supported Zack in the race, and us in our endeavor to follow God’s call. In the big ways (you know who you are), and in the small pats on the back and “How are you feeling about things?” and “ How is everything going?” Thank you, and even if Zack stumbles across the finish line at 18 hours, or we have a hairy of an overwhelming day that brings us to our knees, know you are a little of the wind in our sails that will keep us moving forward.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles,
and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus,
the author and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy set before him endured the cross,
scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12: 1-2