There’s that moment. It’s nearly three o’clock in the morning, out in the middle of the Pacific Northwest and it is pitch black, minus a blinking light on my back and a head lamp illuminating about 20 feet in front of me.
All I really see is a white line in front of me. The white line is that of the road, turning through the forest as I run through it. It’s just me, the road, and a light misting every now and then that I feel from the light rain that we are getting. My body is fatigued from the miles that I put in roughly six hours earlier, but without the distractions of the trees and the scenery, that all seems to fade away. I know that there are hills to conquer up and stride down, but I don’t see them. I simply feel a twinge on my quads as I start to climb and a pull on my hamstrings as I go down. If this were during the day, I believe I would be struggling with myself to continue on my run. My pace isn’t blazing, but it’s quicker than most of the training I’ve done and that tends to stress out my muscles more. Yet instead of pulling back, I reach out and push my body just a bite.
It’s a gorgeously profound moment of serenity.
It is the times like this that I often feel closest to God. I really don’t have the exact words that go through my mind, but it is through the Holy Spirit that I communicate. I’m reminded of the blessings of my wife and kids, who have let me go away this once on my birthday to participate in the event that got me here. I’m reminded that I’m by far not the most noteworthy person on this planet, but I am providing for them, and influencing the small kingdom around me to which I have been given, and that is what is good, true, and beautiful.
I am aware of my struggle briefly again, as the muscles ache a bit again, and I’m reminded that God is there, most importantly through those struggles. Most likely it is Him carrying me through this longer run, as a strained tendon on my knee had be believing I might not complete this run when I first started out. More importantly, I’m reminded that the microcosm of this run reflects the macrocosm of of my life. So much is a run in the dark where there is the feeling of the immensity of things around me, but not always visible, just a guiding light and a line that I track through each step, going up and down hills and flowing through the turns along the way.
My run is nearly three-quarters done when I reach Deception Pass. It is a relatively narrow bridge, barely enough for two lanes of traffic and a sidewalk along side for people to cross. I know that hundreds or thousands of feet below me is a small inlet where the ocean comes in. A little bit of the moonlight is shining through the clouds and I can barely make out the reflection of the waves and the current below. I can hear the water rushing. With just me, and God, and the waves below, I stretch out my arms and fly over the waters below, feeling the wind blow even more, this brief and wonderful 82 minutes treasured in my soul forever.