I identify as agnostic, but I believe there is some entity (perhaps multiple entities) more powerful than me. Whether or not said entity influences my life in any significant way, I don't know. But, I like to think this is the case.
There was the time I was running and desperate for water. I could think of nothing else. Upon cresting a hill, a bottle of water lay on the ground in front of me. This could have been dumb luck, but it felt like divine intervention.
More than 44 miles into my first (and likely only) 50 miler, I was drowning in fatigue and pain. Uncertain about how far I could go, I somehow found myself able to stay afloat and run the last few miles. I suspect something larger than me was at work this day.
On a good day with my runners, I often say the running gods smiled on us. While there may not be any running gods that influence my runs or races, it's reassuring to delude oneself into thinking there might be.
Gods can be fickle, though. There have been days when I should have run brilliantly, but for reasons I can't comprehend, the stars didn't align. The gods simply didn't smile that day. Perhaps I failed them somehow.
Each time I put on my shoes and head out the door, I make an offering to them. It's my hope that my consistent and conscientious offerings will elicit a positive response more often than not.
I battle mightily through the last interval of a track workout hoping they will reward me on the day I need their help most. I push through a steep incline clinging to the idea that they will allow me the strength to do the same the next time I toe the line.
I run through torrential rain and stout headwinds with the hope they may help provide the weather I need on the day I need it. I surge towards the finish line running on fumes hoping that my efforts will not go unnoticed.
I've pushed myself perilously close to the limits of what my body can support. I've staggered across the finish line lightheaded, dizzy, and barely coherent. I can only hope this pleases them.
I've made my offerings on treadmills, trails, tracks, roads, and paths. Some may accuse me of being a zealot and they wouldn't be entirely wrong. I can only hope that my zealotry will pay dividends.
I have no way of knowing for sure if it will. My efforts are a leap of faith. But, I like to think that those who take the leap are rewarded more than those who choose not to. I run because the gods demand it..