Monday, April 4, 2011

Faith, Hope, and Love

"Having a true faith is the most difficult thing in the world. Many will
try to take it from you." -Steve Prefontaine


As a runner having faith is one of the most important things you can cultivate.  A faith in yourself, your mental toughness, your physical prowess.  Faith in your trainers and coaches, your doctors, your friends and family who support you.  Faith in your training if you have events you are preparing for.  Faith that that the hours you invest and time that you spend is building you into something more powerful.  You have to believe that when you step out your front door to pound pavement or run trails that what you need will be there when you need it because you put it there and not just on race days but on days when no one is watching and when no crowds line the way cheering you on.  When your shins ache or your joints are stiff or you just don’t want to be out there.  And when others try to take that, try to discourage you or knock you down, when the voices in your head tell you that’s it not enough that you are not enough, faith must prevail. 

'”During our lives we're faced with so many elements as well, we experience so many setbacks, and fight such a hand-to-hand battle with failure, head down in the rain, just trying to stay upright and have a little hope. " -Lance Armstrong

As a runner having hope can be the difference between finishing a 10K and deciding to train for a marathon.  Hope can be the only thing that stands between you and quitting on a long run in the wind when all you want to do is be at home on the couch eating ice cream or drinking a beer.  Hope reminds us that it’s more than believing in ourselves, it’s believing in something beyond ourselves and keeping our eyes up and forward even when there are so many things beating us back and telling us we can’t.  Hope reminds us that anything is possible.  Protect that part of you that hopes, it will sustain you when everything else is falling apart.

Somewhere behind the athlete you've become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back... play for her.
- Mia Hamm


As a runner, love is probably where it began.  That first time your legs really stretched out and you felt the sun on your face and the wind in your hair and everything felt right even if it was just for a second.  When you realized that the track made you feel complete or a trail was more like a church than any building you’d ever entered.  Love is what gets you out of bed at 5:30 AM on a Saturday for a long run when the rest of the block is still dark and everyone is fast asleep.  You don’t love every run, you can’t but you love the purity, the joy, and the intention.  Love is the reason. 
Nourish the faith that moves your spirit, retain the hope that keeps you believing in what lies beyond possible, and remember the love that brought you to this point.  As a runner, love is what we must hold on to, what requires vigilant protection, nurturing, reverence, and humility. It doesn’t come without loss and ultimate vulnerability; rarely does it exist without a fight but it nourishes the soul and the very soul of the world. Love is everything. Nothing else matters.