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It’s a beautiful Saturday morning, a cool 65 degrees, the sun just beginning to break over the mountains near our home. It is also the last long run on my half marathon training schedule. The race is one week away.

I am mentally prepared. Ten miles is a distance I’ve not attempted, let alone accomplished. The adrenalin is high and propelling me to get started early. I’m off.

About two miles into the training run, there is a mountainous hill…about a 35 degree incline. It feels more like a 90 degree incline when running. While the leg muscles were burning thoughts of the laborious rigor of training alone began to surface. I considered making it a shorter run. No that wouldn’t support my goal of 13.1 miles in one week. I kept going up the hill. I’m not quitting!

IMG_2876Training for a race is the hard part. Training alone is even harder. There are times of doubts, fears and wanting to give up. The hills are steeper, the distance seems farther, the course is lonely.

Actually running the race is easy. The hard work is done. Hundreds of racers pacing, adrenaline rushing, excitement is building, anticipating the start. It’s easy because of the hundreds of racers running together as a community with a shared goal towards the finish line.

How often we choose to go at “it” alone? “It” being a project, your job and even life. Deciding that others aren’t needed. You are capable, strong, intelligent and wise. Of course you can do it alone. However, going alone allows room for doubts and fears. Resources are limited. Relationship is shut down.

Running with others, choosing to value people and what they have to offer propels us to being more. We’ve been created for community. People challenge and encourage. Collaborating frees up resources. Vulnerability opens authenticity, allowing others to know you and you to know others. Each of us has gifts and strengths to contribute to others and to bring out the best in others. Life gets bigger and more fulfilling by loving others and being loved.

I finished the long run this Saturday morning…alone. Yet, at the end of the run, was my husband waiting and cheering me on with pride and encouragement.

Value the gifts your colleagues, friends, family and even strangers are offering. The gifts of others will add beauty and love and joy!