October 7, 2016

Bucket List Weekend

Gary Thomas — 

Bucket List

In 1972, a very skinny man named Frank Shorter entered the Olympic stadium in Munich at the end of the marathon, ready to seize the gold medal. I took one look at his arms and thought, “I could do a sport like that (not fully realizing what a phenomenal athlete Shorter was).”frank-shorter-1972

It was a few more years before I started running, but when I did it took hold of me like no other sport ever has. I’m not a gifted athlete, but if you’re willing to endure the pain, you can still become a decent runner. I managed to qualify for three Boston marathons, but have never seen the front of any marathon (though in a small marathon in Idaho, I did crack the top 25, but was still way, way, way behind the winner).

I’m heavier and much slower now, but I’m about to check off a bucket list item this weekend (October 9) and wanted to share it with you. I’m running the Munich marathon, which finishes in the same stadium where Frank Shorter crossed the finish line to win his Olympic gold medal. I’m reading his recently released autobiography on the way:frank-shorter-auto-book-cover

This will be my fourteenth marathon, and it may be my last. It’s so difficult to train in Houston during the summer, and since I still essentially work two jobs, it’s doubly difficult to find the time and energy to do what’s necessary to run a decent time. A twenty miler in Houston in August doesn’t take just three hours; it consumes an entire day as your body tries to recover. I’m just not sure if that’s a justifiable use of my time.

So if the Munich marathon is the last one I finish, it’ll be poetic. Lisa’s planning on renting a bike and checking in now and then (the marathon isn’t a big deal in Munich—spectators are limited).

If I’m slow to respond to posts on Facebook, this blog, or Twitter, you’ll know why. Lisa asked me to leave my laptop at home on this trip—this will be the longest I’ve gone in over thirty years without writing something. But she’s shared me with my computer our entire marriage, so it’s only fair I give her these two uninterrupted weeks.

I’m not going to push the pace at all. This is a leisurely run through one of my favorite cities in the world, during my favorite season, enjoying my favorite sport, while getting occasional glimpses of my favorite person riding a bike, and ending up entering a stadium where one of my favorite athletes did something that changed my life. For me, it’ll be an act of worship.

Thank you for reading this blog, my books, and coming out to hear me talk on occasion. You all have helped create a season in my life I never could have dreamed of, for which I’m truly grateful.

Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst

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31 responses to Bucket List Weekend

  1. Gary – I have run many marathons and know that a 4:04:33 doesn’t just happen – you worked for that! I hope you enjoyed running a 26.2 in another country – and that you & your wife have a fantastic week. God Bless You both, sir.

  2. I have just started running. Doing +- 10 km a run on a Saturday and I am loving it. There have been many factors that have inspired me, including the idea of running some very famous runs when I get to that point. No desire of winning or competing or doing better times. Just don’t want to come last… 😉 So awesome. Enjoy every stride.

  3. How cool to be running in that beautiful city into that still beautiful stadium!

  4. Blessings Gary! I’m confident you and Lisa will have a blast. Hope you’ll share with us snippets of the beautiful experience you’ll have…

  5. What an amazing treat for you Gary!
    Bless you, and bless your run!

  6. Wow I’m really proud of you!! Running these marthons is a great accomplishment and still encouraging others, like me! Thank you for all encouraging words and new light you help to shine for my Christian walk! Hopefully one day I’ll be able to sit under your teaching again!

  7. Wow Gary what an awesome story. I love your blogs. I will think of you and Lisa on this journey and smile! Thanks for writing!

  8. What a wonderful story. Thank you and Lisa for sharing your lives with us. We are blessed because of your willingness to share.
    Lord bless their time together, draw them closer to You and each other.
    In Jesus name.

  9. Have a great time Gary! May you experience the “when I run, I feel His pleasure” described by Eric Liddell. Thanks for sharing on your life and experience. And appreciate all you are doing for us through your blog!

  10. Best of luck!

  11. Awesome, Gary!!! Two weeks with Lisa and without your computer!!!! Wow. You are and always have been an inspiration to me and Lawson. We thank God for the gift He gave you to counsel!!!! Running —- you go!!! Can’t wait to hear all about it and enjoy the weather! Blessings.