With the Country Music 1/2 Marathon just a few short months away, I made the insane┬ádecision to sign up for the “Last Chance for Boston” 1/2 marathon on February 28th. I figured it was a good way to stay ready and motivated for the Nashville half. Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn’t get the memo about keeping the snow away so those of us in Columbus could train appropriately. Like most of the country, we have been hammered with snow around these parts. Training has been alternated between the “dreadmill” and outside runs in the snow.

This half marathon is unique in that it is 13 laps around a one mile course in a local industrial parkway. Many (not me) use this as a chance to qualify for Boston because the course is so flat. One blessing is that the site has been relatively cleared of snow so people can get to their office buildings within the industrial parkway. For that reason, I have made my way over to the course the last two Saturdays to get my mileage in and test out what the repetitive laps around a course would feel like. In short…it’s BRUTAL!

2 weeks ago I ran 12 miles (laps) around the course by myself. When I got home, my wife asked how it went. I said “if you look up grinding it out in the dictionary, you will see a picture of me running around Metro Place”. Half of the course is a stiff wind in your face while the back half is a strong wind at your back. When the temps are in the teens and the snow is piled high, it is a recipe for a long, long day.

This weekend I again visited Metro Place but this time my friend Jeff shared the journey with me. Together we set out for 10 miles around the parkway. We started strong and eventually hit a wall. Step by step, we continued on. At times we both wanted to quit. The wind in our face and the chill in the air were making this a very tough training day. Our conversation went from frequent to very little. While we were both battling in different ways and fighting different fatigue, there was something about having someone else there to push, encourage and share the struggle. About an hour an a half later, we were driving back home and talking about life, family and our kids. You wouldn’t even know we had just run.

Once again I am reminded how much running can be a picture of our faith journey. We were meant to do life together. While the “training” and the times in our life are going to be difficult, there is no comparison to having a partner on the journey. Together you can share the valleys and rejoice in the victories. Having someone next to you that you are accountable to keeps you going. It keeps you moving. The tough times are temporary. There will be moments of laughter and even moments of great fatigue. Each mile makes you closer and stronger.

Keep sharing the journey friends.