The Long Run
There is this moment in every race I have run, always early on, where I think, what was I thinking!?
Alright everyone, I know this is a late one, but I couldn't fathom sending this our before the Trials. I have a brief recap below (with more reaction to come, I'm sure!)
The jolt away from the comforts of the starting line to the unknown that lies every step along the race course ahead of mean shakes me from the weeks of dreaming I had previously done about race today. It's here. It's hard. What am I doing? When these moments come - and they often do - I need to decide whether or pull back and enjoy a comfortable race or trust the training in my legs and push myself to race for a podium spot or a PR.
Of course, I would never choose door #1, no matter how appealing it is. The moment passes, the decision has been made, and I tuck into my race. After weeks and weeks of training, hundreds of miles in my legs, and no shortage of early morning existential crises, I know that the work I had put in would give me the best chance of having a good day.
Friends, in this season of Lent, as we consider our fasting practices, there is going to come that what was I thinking moment. If we remember what it's all about though, that moment won't come when we consider abandoning our prayer efforts, it will come just before the Triduum, and, thinking back over the weeks, we'll return to those moments where we almost did "drop out" and we'll say what was I thinking?
Tuck into your race. It's early, but this Lent is going to be a powerful season.
A few quick thoughts on happenings in the world of running and the Church
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something (red, white and) blue.
I hope you didn't give up sweets for Lent because the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials were a real treat. If you've been keeping up with The Long Run, you'll remember that the course profile in Atlanta was not for the faint of heart. Add chilly temps and a serious cross-wind and the conditions were set for an incredibly difficult course.
The men kicked things off just after noon and, while a few took it out at a courageous clip, the majority of runners worked together to fight the wind until about the 16 mile mark. Unsurprisingly, Nike athlete Galen Rupp dictated the pace and led a group of about 5 runners through the 20 mile mark when he opened up a lead he would see through to the end of the race. The real surprise came when Colorado Track Club athlete Jacob Reilly, threw down a ridiculous back 10k to move up into the lead group and fight his way into second place with just a mile to go. 43 year old Abdi Abdirahman rounded out the men's team edging out Meb's record-breaking podium finish at 42 years old.
On the women's side, a more conservative race was run. A stacked field of all-star athletes ran shoulder to shoulder for the better part of 20 miles. Before Aliphine Tuliamuk and Molly Seidel broke away from the field, it really could have been a toss up. Naz Elite athlete Aliphine Tuliamuk broke the tape for the women while marathon debutant and Notre Dame grad Seidel nabbed the second spot on the US team. Sally Kipyego rounded out the podium positions while a host of major names flooded in behind. Des Linden, Molly Huddle, Emily Sisson, Jordan Hasay, Kellyn Taylor, Sara Hall, and Steph Bruce all could have feasibly made the team. The fact that none of the big names made the US team speaks less to the races each of the had as individuals and more to the depth of the ever-growing talent in women's distance running.
With experience, youth, speed, strength, and grit, the US marathoners will be a force to be reckoned with at this summer's Games.
Can I Order the Lobster?
If anyone thinks that the Church is dying, please direct their attention to wave of seafood adds that has suddenly flooded the markets. (See what I did there?) That being said, abstinence from meat every Friday is to be practiced within the penitential season of Lent. We aren't giving up meat for the sake of giving up meat, the practice is to heighten the entire Lenten journey and unite us in a common sacrifice. A lobster special or all-you-can-eat Sushi buffet may be meat free but it certainly is not in line with the spirit of the Friday penance.
Upcoming events, prayer intentions and other items of note
Our Lenten Reflection series is up and running. If you would like to join us you can sign up below for the program.
Every morning you'll receive an email with a short program for the day. A reading, a prayer, a brief reflection, and a challenge will be delivered right to your inbox. Every morning you will have to opportunity to choose greatness by committing to the Lenten practices of fasting, conversion, repentance, and prayer.
We hope you will join us!
A Saint, Memorial, or Feast of the Week
St. Katharine Drexel
"But the man went away sad, for he had many possessions" (Mark 10:22). The story of the "Rich Young Man" is often used to describe how wealth can be a significant stumbling block to holiness. No one can serve both God and mammon. Indeed, how often have we seen great saints forgo their inheritances to enter into lives of abject Gospel poverty. The story of St. Katharine Drexel offers, perhaps, a slightly nuanced spin on the old Gospel story.
While many assume the rich young man never followed Jesus, it could be said that, while the prospect of losing his possessions made him sad, he may have done it anyway. Or, perhaps, in the model of St. Mary Magdalene, used his wealth to support the mission of the Apostles. Who knows? St. Katharine Drexel came from a family of wealth and for much of her young life used her privilege and platforms to tend to those in need. She lived out the Suscipe of St. Ignatius: Take Lord and receive, all that I have and possess.
In time, she became so moved by the indigenous peoples of the United States along with the African American communities still wounded by the sins of slavery that she offered her life in service to and support of such peoples. Continually harassed by Segregationists, she marched on, eventually opening some 50 Catholic schools for Native Americans and African Americans. Most notably, she saw the opening of Xavier University in New Orleans, the first Catholic HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).
One of the first American born saints, St. Katharine is reminder to us all about how to use what we are given for the service of others, to act boldly in the face of injustice, and to always trust in the slow work of God.
St. Katharine Drexel, pray for us!
A prayer or habit to take with you this week.
Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. Thou hast given all to me. To Thee, O lord, I return it. All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and thy grace, for this is sufficient for me.
-St. Ignatius Loyola
Alright everyone, I'm not sure if you felt this one, but it just felt like February would not give up. The days were long, stress levels high, and it seemed that Spring would never get here. Well, with a bonus day in tow, February delivered an incredible close with a memorable Marathon Trials.
I wish you all a happy beginning to March and will continue to hold you in my prayers during this season of Lent.