Saturday, September 17, 2011

Words, Words, Words...Better Late Than Never

Yes, it's Saturday morning, and I'm finally getting to the Words, Words, Words post of the week. That's because the past two days have been abnormally full of cleaning. We have company in town for the United States Air Force Marathon. Harley is doing his fifth, or maybe sixth, marathon. He can't remember. George is training for his fourth marathon at the end of October, which will be his first marathon not preceeded by a 2.4 miles swim and 112 mile bike ride.

Crazy people. I'm surrounded by crazy people who think endurance sports are, like, fun.

I found a quotation that sums up what I imagine a marathon to feel like because no way am I crazy enough to run one.

"The difference between the mile and the marathon is the difference between burning your fingers with a match and being slowly roasted over hot coals." Hal Higdon, running writer and coach

The funniest aspect of this quotation is that every person who's run more than one marathon would agree with it...and they run another marathon anyway. These people really are crazy.

So why do I admire them so much? Because marathon embodies the admirable human qualities of self-discipline and endurance. And it's cool that we humans have organized sports in a way that you can earn finisher medals for your admirable human qualities.

Plenty of us have self-discipline and endurance in other areas of our lives. In education, the finisher medal is a diploma or degree. In careers, the finisher medal is retirement.

In other situations where self-discipline and endurance get us through, we don't get a finisher medal. We might cross an invisible finish line, staggering and bleeding from blisters and chafing, but no crowd cheers, and nice EMTs are not waiting to hook us up to an IV bag.

When we cheer the marathoners crossing the line, we're cheering that human spirit of self-discipline and endurance, the ability to set our minds on a goal and just do it, no matter how hard and crazy and big it is.
And that is something worth cheering for, don't you think?

What have self-discipline and endurance helped you accomplish in life?


  1. Super Good Luck Harley and George!!!

    Marathoners amaze me. They can quit at anytime and the only person they would disappoint is themselves but they continue any way.

    I finally finished my AS degree. After taking a decade off to raise a family and problems with classes not transferring, 3, and new classes being add to the curriculum, 6, it's finally done and I have the diploma to show for it.

  2. I will not run a marathon in my lifetime but my SIL has run quite a few and I"m living vicariously through her LOL!

    Self-discipline and endurance are a huge part of my life...I laugh as card making was an act of endurance at the beginning since I"m not naturally creative and have to push through even if it takes a few hours. Self discipline of continuing to create and grow in the craft. TONS of both in all the sports I've done over my lifetime and, on a spiritual front, reading my bible, pressing on when you don't feel like it and life is kicking your but knowing my character is being shaped. Yes, two great words :)

  3. Two quotes I think are relevant:

    "There will be days you don't think you can run a marathon. There will be a lifetime of knowing you have."
    - Unknown

    "If god invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, then triathlon must have taken him completely by surprise."
    - P.Z. Pearce

  4. My hubby is a runner. I admire him immensely for the pure dedication it takes to run 3 - 4 times a week, every week of the year. He runs about 20km every Saturday, except when he was training for a marathon and then he ran a bit more on Saturdays. The commitment (and self-discipline) required to reach the point of actually running the race is huge, as you would know. And he also thinks it is fun.
    What have I done with self-discipline and endurance?
    I studied full-time (for a Post Grad Dip Ed) and worked full-time to be able to afford to study. And I didn't even like the course. Next time I will stop instead of persevering just to finish! I am now a qualified Music and History teacher who doesn't work as a teacher. :-)
    I studied part-time (for an MBA) while working full-time very long hours, traveling for work, and being pregnant, and then with a new baby. Whew! I LOVED that course, but I was elated when I finished and I had some spare time back in my life!
    I find those things that I really need to work hard at are the things that I appreciate the very best.

  5. Good luck to the guys!

    Self-discipline and endurance? How about 50 years of marriage to the same man? (come Nov. 25)

  6. Canning all the produce in my garden takes self-discipline. Especially when I'm back at work full time. I hate coming home and knowing that my day is only half over, but I do love coming home in the winter knowing that my cellar is full and I do not have to go to the grocery store. That's when the self-discipline of canning really pays off.


Thanks so much for taking time to comment!