There’s No Upside...
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Wow!.... 3 Hours 21 Minutes... Are you kidding me?!?!
Wow!.... 3 Hours 21 Minutes... Are you kidding me?!?!
It was pretty incredible watching our youngest son Aaron come down the final stretch of his very first marathon. We all knew that Aaron was going to finish, but the question for us was just how long it was going to take.
One month and a half ago, our oldest son Adam (23), put up a little challenge to his younger brother Aaron (19). "You have to find a marathon and then start training one month before. If you finish, then I will pay you $500!" Adam was so cool about it that there was no penalty for a failed attempt. This was purely motivational on his part.
It did not take much for Aaron to take the challenge. Why? Aaron has been a distance runner for years. He ran track in junior high. Aaron then took on cross country in high school. Aaron never really cared about the competition aspect of the organized events. Instead, he just liked to run. Since graduating, Aaron has had little push to continue running. Adam could see Aaron's talent going to waste, and devised the challenge.
I had some great discussions with Aaron as he prepared. He set his goals and none of them included failure. I had visions of those runners who hit a wall and barely staggered to the finish line, often with the aid of others. Aaron shared that if he beat 3 hours and 10 minutes he would be qualified for the Boston Marathon. I marveled that Aaron considered nothing but complete success. I joked with others that Aaron wasn't concerned about finishing. Instead, he was more worried about where he would be going dancing later that night. He was part hot-shot, and part total punk, as he would razz me about my advanced age. He cast aside any doubts of not completing the task.
Another key point to consider is that the farthest Aaron had ever run before was miles. It seemed like nothing for him to leave the house, run 8 or 10 miles, and then have the strength to carry out the rest of his day.
In the Doctrine and Covenants section 89 it states:
- 18 And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;
- 19 And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;
- 20 And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.
- 21 And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.
The earlier verses of scripture talk about the health code known as the Word of Wisdom. This is the section where we learn that we are better off to abstain from strong drinks (alcohol), tobacco, as well as drugs. It goes on to stress the aspects of good health and then the resulting blessings. "And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint." Aaron has been blessed by both adherence to the Word of Wisdom, combined with both God-given running talent and just youthful innocence.
I remembered back to my days at 14 years of age when my Dad and I set a goal to ride in the L.A. Wheelman Double Century 200 mile bike ride. I had similar youthful innocence as we prepared. Our longest ride before the race was 113 miles. I was the youngest finishes that year, having finished in 16 hours and 12 minutes. Dad only made it to the half way point, yet I completed the task. Why? For more details about the Double Century I completed, please enjoy reading... http://www.thehomeinspector.com/Family/LeavittTimes_2011_6-19.html
MUSCLE VERSES MIND
What I learned in my experience was that my muscles got me through the first 100 miles, but my will power and mind got me through the second 100 miles. Big endurance challenges involve both the mental and the physical. It is the mental toughness that often carries us across the finish line.
4 HOUR GOAL
Aaron had set his goals on the 4-hour mark for the marathon. He had his mileage goals set and everything was planned out. What he found was that he was blowing these goals out of the water. He shared that as he got to the 21 mile point he knew this was a done deal and he was greatly going to beat his 4 hour goal. So what did he do? Aaron slowed down his per mile rate to 9 minute miles. This is very slow for him, but he said that emotionally he had little more to push for. He hadn't really set any goals for this scenario, yet he kept running. As he approached the final mile he had lots of energy remaining, so he turned on the after-burners. By the time we saw him he looked like a 5K winner instead of having just run 26 miles. The final sprint was as quick as any of those 3-mile cross country race finishes we had witnessed in his earlier years. Nobody seeing his finish realized that he was a marathoner because the 1/2 marathoners and 5Kers were all crossing the line at the same time. He was like a flash of light as he streaked down the final 100 yards... 3 hours and 21 minutes.... Wow!
The marathon portion of the event had about 200 runners of all ages. Aaron came in 14th overall. Everybody finishing quicker were older and had completed multiple marathons. Aaron also came in 1st place for the 18 to 20 age group. This means that he was the youngest/quickest finisher.
Aaron is thrilled to be getting a 26.2 sticker for the back of his Jeep Patriot.
I marveled as I watched Aaron make the rounds seeking out his fellow runners. Aaron spoke with them and congratulated them on their accomplishments. They all returned the kindness. Aaron had left an impression upon them. Keep in mind that runners are typically quite private and introverted. Aaron breaks that mold. Aaron also loves to talk, a gift that most runners are unable to employ while running distance. As a cross-country runner, his teammates would always comment that all Aaron would do during races was talk. But talking is what sets Aaron apart from the pack. I spoke with several runners who shared that Aaron's gabbing helped them endure the tougher mile markers of the race.
A MOTHER'S LOVE
When Shelly saw Aaron near the end she squealed and jumped for joy. She tried to give him a high five at the final turn and then she pivoted and sprinted towards the finish line herself, all the way yelling "Go Aaron!" Luckily, Haily was with her in case she went down during the excitement. It has been decades since I have seen Shelly run like that, but the surprise and the relief of the moment totally consumed her... At-A-Girl Shelly!
A FATHER'S PRIDE
I am extremely proud of Aaron's accomplishments yesterday. I am most impressed with his ability to endure after setting his goals and smashing them. There is no doubt about it, and that is that Aaron is extremely tough in both spirit and might!
I watched from afar as Aaron made sure to give this young lady her due props for finishing!
Aaron deserves to be very proud of this monumental feat in his young life. It will be a moment in his life that he will never forget. Both Shelly and I are extremely proud of you!
Make it a great day! Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah