Distance runners are a little, um, different. They take pride in toughing through discomfort in a race and running until they are bleeding, have broken bones, or are leaning against a tree heaving their guts out. Outsiders often ask why someone would do something so absolutely insane. The response generally leaves that person even more confused than before they asked....it's hard to put a visceral compulsion into words. A better question to ask is how someone can do something like that.
The answer to "how?" is a whole lot easier: encouragement and support. A running buddy to keep you company and keep you steady in your pace. People along the course who give a "woo hoo! way to go! keep it up" and clap as you pass. The crowd lining the course along the home stretch when the finish line is in sight...cheering, ringing bells, and making enough noise that it completely drowns out any nagging voice of self doubt that might be trying to tell you that you can't make it. All of that puts fuel into your tank and helps you to carry on even if you're really on empty.
If you're reading this, you are a part of the encouragement and support for us right now, and we appreciate it more than we have words to describe. Your praying for us and cheering us on keeps us going on those days where it feels like we're running on empty. You might not think that your comment or email is that big of a deal, but there are a lot of days where it makes all the difference for us.