(Revisiting this a year later, coming off of a week that was beautifully, but emotionally challenging...
Reminded that through life, despite the hurdles we face,
we never run this race alone.
Thanks for reading...)
The L.A. marathon is this Sunday and with it begins inspirational articles told in the Times.
Yesterday morning detailed the story of a 26 year old El Salvador transplant, Christian Alvarado, who will be running this Sunday in his 11th marathon. Seven of his previous marathons were Los Angeles in addition to two New York and one Long Beach race. Christian has Type 1 diabetes, and in past marathons, he had to be tended by paramedics due to low blood sugar from his extreme physical output. He persevered, however, and finished each run. The inspiration lies, however, not in his poverty ridden past or the fact that he runs despite his diabetic diagnosis.
Christian is blind.
This year Christian will run with a guide, 22 year old Tania Gongora, who will assist him with the help of a black shoelace used as a tether. Previous events found Christian with a guide who deserted him mid-marathon to finish the race on his own or no guide at all. Until now, because he lacked training equipment and human assistance, his workouts consisted of 30 minutes running in place in his bedroom. "That was the best I could do," he says. This is Tania's 1st marathon, but she and Christian have spent days upon days running together in the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area. Christian runs with a shirt that says, "CHRISTIAN" and beneath it in bold print, "I'M BLIND" so that other runners will understand if he inadvertently runs into them or steps into their path. Of course, Tania's role aids in this problem as she gently tugs on the tether to correct Christian's course if he strays.
To whom am I tethered?
For years and years of my life, I ran in place for short bursts of time, going nowhere, blind to the fact that I could run with Assistance. I thought this was "the best I could do."
I wore an invisible and unintentional mark that said, "I'm blind." Blind to the fact that I was judgemental; proud; inflexible; unseeking. Blind to the fact that I was not living my best life. Blind to the fact that there was more.
More times than I'm willing to admit, I quit. I did not finish my race. I gave up when the odds became too personal or the challenge became too great.
But today, through the grace of God in His goodness, I am tethered to Him. I run with the mark of His love in a proclamation to other runners that my blinders have been lifted. I run each day with His guidance in an effort to prepare for life's greatest challenges. And in times when I stray from my given path, my Coach gently tugs on my tether to assist me; to right my path; to guide me back to Him.
I am tethered to Him.
I no longer run alone.