As the Pacific Northwest Marathon approaches, I've been talking to some of those who plan to run. The conversations range from how best to stay hydrated, what to eat or not to eat, and even how best to warm up. But at some point, it seems like everyone mentions, with a touch of fear or anxiousness in their voice, "hitting the wall."
If you Google "hitting the wall" you will find endless stories of runners or bike riders who have experienced this phenomenon. Wikipedia even has a description for it; " In endurance sports such as cycling and running, hitting the wall or the bonk is a condition of sudden fatigue and loss of energy which is caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles."
It seems that all endurance athletes have either experienced or are afraid of experiencing "the wall." As a read story after story, I found two common themes. One theme is that no amount of training or preparation will make you immune to hitting the wall. And second, those who overcame the wall, usually did so because of one thing - the encouragement of others.
Several runners recounted getting to such a difficult mental place that they strongly considered quitting, when suddenly they heard the familiar voice of a family member or loved one. Others described another runner coming up beside them, striking up a conversation and encouraging them not to give up. In every case, the physical effects on the body didn't change, but the encouraging words of another helped them endure to the end.
Sometimes we hit the wall in everyday life. It's not caused by a depletion of glycogen, but it's real none the less. Maybe its a relationship conflict or a financial stress or a physical diagnosis. When that happens, we need the support and encouragement of those around us to encourage us. And we need to be reminded who is with us.
Romans 15:5 "May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had."
Isaiah 43:2-3 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."
If you are afraid of hitting the wall during the marathon, arrange to plant some encouragers in strategic locations along the last miles. And when you find yourself hitting the wall of life, surround yourself with those who will support you, and remember who is with you ALWAYS.
We invite you to join us this week for a run or walk. On Wednesday we will meet at noon at the new Millrace extension to the Clearwater trail. On Saturday, we will meet at 9 am at Millrace and on Sunday we will meet at 5 pm at Clearwater trailhead.