"1 Kings 19:11 - The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave."
It is the gentle whisper, the still small voice were one finds God. For me; like many; the hustle & bustle of our world make it difficult to hear this gentle whisper. There are so many things that pull & tug us in all different directions that we do not have time to quite ourselves, to have time with our God who is within us always.
Running the popular 5k or 10k race in town may be a time to turn within, but often times it is too short of a time & there are still too many distractions.
When I got in to ultra distance running (I.e. distances longer than the 26.2 mile marathon), I often found myself alone with no other runners around me. As I run at quite a slow pace, most of the other runners are long ahead of me. Since many ultra marathons are run on trails, running alone results in my being out on some long country gravel road or in the forest or out in the prairie for hours on end. To give you some feel for the time aspect, most 100 mile runs have a 30-hour cut off time. This means that I have 30 hours within which to complete the 100-mile run. Most races start early on a Saturday morning; run all day, all through the night & into the next day often finishing around 2:00 PM on Sunday.
It is during the long stretches of running alone at night where this “gentle whisper”, this “small voice” can be heard. THIS is the time when I commune with God & HE with me. No hustle & bustle, no traffic or blaring music, no e-mails to check, just quiet darkness. The crunching of my feet on the ground, the cool night air, the rustle of the leaves in the breeze all work in a symphony to create that perfect environment for God, the Almighty Creator of All, to be heard. When I am running at night, alone, with no other person to talk to, God & I have the most wonderful conversations. HE shows me the real me, allows me to know the Real God.
When I am tired & thinking of giving up, HE encourages me & lets me know that HE is with me & strengthening me every step of the way. HE knows that whatever suffering that I am going through is offered up for others & for the souls in Purgatory. I am aware that my suffering is self-induced, but none-the-less, I still offer it up for others. I am thankful for my ability to do this as my “quiet time with God” is indescribable & intoxicating.
Why do I run ultras you ask?
To spend quality time with My Lord.