Beginning in June, my daughter started training for her first ever marathon (the Chicago Marathon) and I was watching her get up early to run “short runs” of six or seven miles a day and then “long runs” which increased weekly until she made it to seventeen miles one Saturday evening.
A couple of times, I rode my bike alongside her on these longer runs (which we clocked in at over two hours). I peddled easily along as my daughter pushed herself one step at a time (in pain most of those steps). Clearly, she was investing a whole lot more than I was during those two hours.
As I accompanied her, I thought about my running days way back when…why I loved running (how you feel like a million bucks after about 1 1/2 miles) and why I eventually quit (I got tired of finding running partners only to have them quit on me a few months later).
So for me, watching my daughter set a goal of running 26.2 miles (in one run) was amazing to me. Inside, I was cheering her on through every single run she went on.
She endured rain, wind, heat, humidity, potholes, hills and valleys, exhaustion, sickness, pain, pain, and more pain (as knee injuries stopped her in her tracks for over a month).
When it looked like she was finally able to resume running another obstacle hit hard. A friend died. The decision to run or not with her injury was no longer, “Will my body be able to handle running this distance?” It defaulted to a more important choice, sacrificing her hard-earned goal in favor of staying put and supporting her friend’s family.
I don’t think I was ever so proud of my daughter than when she told me it wasn’t even a hard decision to make. She knew she had to set aside her own desire to run for the sake of supporting someone she loved.
I don’t think she realized it, but she had already won her race without even stepping foot on the Chicago race line. To my mind, she chose the best road to travel by stepping up to the moment and choosing to “walk” alongside her friend’s family during a time of great sorrow for them.
She sacrificed every day for months to reach a goal she eventually decided wasn’t as valuable as being there for someone who needed her.
And as John Maxwell reminds us…across every area of life, “Sacrifice is an ongoing process, not a one-time payment.”