I swear I’m still the same boy who couldn’t run a mile. Every time I run, every footfall on the treadmill, or the pavement, I’m reminded of that boy. How every time I was forced to run a mile in gym class I would lose my lunch. I know that a lot of people throw-up after running because they’re out of shape, but for me this always signaled the onset of a long migraine. These migraines were debilitating; typically I would be out for a week because I couldn’t stop throwing-up. After an abundance of hospital visits, which is another story, we finally figured out that I was suffering from abdominal migraines, which are abominable. Before I was diagnosed with abdominal migraines, I made every attempt to avoid running the mile, but gym coaches never listen if you don’t have a doctor’s note. Finding out that I was suffering from migraines did little to stop the migraines from coming. At one point I decided to stop all physical exercise because over-exertion seemed to be what triggered the migraines. All of this added up to me not being able to run a mile. And I still feel like that boy even though I’m about to run a half-marathon.
This last Monday I ran a 15-k out on the streets. Up until now all of my training for my half-marathon was on a treadmill. It’s hard to run outside when you don’t know the area that well and all of the distances are in Spanish (okay they’re in kilometers, which are as foreign to me as Spanish). I finally found some people to run with and took off for a jaunt through town. Running on the streets in Xela is an interesting experience, filled with pot-holes and fast cars. I sucked in a lot of exhaust from the buses, which doesn’t actually help you run faster, and saw a dead dog on the side of the road. Once we reached the edge of town the run improved. The scenery changed from Burger Kings and hospitals to beautiful farm country with the Volcano Santa Maria looming in the distance shrouded by clouds. The roads cleared a little bit and the hills we’d been climbing flattened out, but then it started to rain. If you ever want to feel hard-core, really manly, go run a hill and then watch everyone else hide under shelter as the rain starts to turns to hail and you push through it. After completing the 15-k in the rain, I’ve decided I’m going to be able to run the half-marathon. Knowing I have the ability to run 13.1 miles still doesn’t tell me how I mutated from the boy who couldn’t run a mile to the man I am now.
I think God has something to do with it. He changed me so I could enjoy physical activities at a semi-competitive level again. I know the change didn’t happen over night. It was slow and has taken a lot of effort on my part. I’ve had a lot of setbacks. I’ve gotten a few migraines, but I’ve decided to push through. That is why when I run the half-marathon in Coban in two weeks I will be thanking God at every mile. I might still feel like the boy who couldn’t run a mile and always stood shamefully next to his PE teachers while the rest of the guys ran the mile, but He has blessed me with the legs to run and the body to endure and I’m rather grateful for that.