Gonna go run now.

I’m leaving today for an extended stay in St. Louis to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Louis Marathon. I’m super excited, and I’ll be back to tell you all about it. Some day.

We’re going to Wisconsin on vacation after the weekend’s events, so you may not hear from me for a while. Rest assured I’ll be alive, and I will have finished the race.

If you want to track me while I’m out there, do this:
1. Go to https://www.competitorwireless.com/
2. Select The Quinn Family Foundation Rock & Roll St. Louis Marathon and Half Marathon – 2014
3. Enter my name (Andrew Carter) in the box. (Search for Ashley Carter, too, as she runs her fourth half marathon!)
4. Select the one from Evansville.
5. Enter your cell phone number.
6. Follow the rest of the instructions.

I’ve been thinking about doing a series about questions I get asked a lot. Whether or not I do that, here is one I would talk about:

“What do you think about while you’re running for that long?”

It depends on what type of run I’m doing. If it’s short, I could be thinking about any number of things. I could be counting my footfalls to make sure my cadence is up. I could be listening to my music, podcast, or audiobook. Short runs aren’t so bad. It’s the long runs where my mind can turn on me. My most recent 20-mile run took me 3.5 hours. When I run on Sunday, I’ll be out there for at least 4.5 hours of constant running. When the fatigue starts to set in and my thoughts turn toward quitting and questions like “why the heck am I doing this?” begin to arise, it’s important to be able to combat that with something else. My mind wanders in a million different directions. Here are just a few of them.

1. What my blog will be about next.
I was encouraged by a friend to write a training blog. It was something I was sort of thinking about anyway, and hearing someone say it was something they would read about was exactly the push I needed to get started. It has become a very welcome creative outlet. It’s a lot of fun to think about how I’ll communicate my runs and workouts to you in such a way that it won’t be mundane or boring.

Thanks for visiting!
Thanks for visiting!

It truly has been encouraging to see you all come here consistently week after week. I have a stats page that shows me how many people come to this blog and where they come from. There’s a certain number of readers every week, with a few spikes depending on what I write about (the Rugged Red post was very popular all over the country, so that was pretty cool). I don’t have a group of people I train with, so it’s nice to have a support of you who come back here to read about what I’ve done. So, thank you – Thank you for joining me on this particular journey. There’s more to come!

2. When things get tough…
As a Christian who is fairly familiar with the Bible, I often turn to its word as a source of comfort. Hours spent in the country or in the woods are also ample time for prayer and meditation as well. Time and again I’ve experienced the singular peace and comfort I’ve only experienced in prayer. Soreness and tough workouts also have a way of bringing up a few Bible verses or other ideas that help me keep moving forward.

“…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2

A poignant sign I saw on a church during a long, hot run this summer:

Faith doesn’t make it easy; it makes it possible.

Which of course always leads me to:

“I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

3. I think about my wife.

She has had impressive success as a runner, too!
She has had impressive success as a runner, too!
If you’ll pardon the terms, Ashley is without a doubt my biggest “fan” and most loyal and selfless supporter. And it means more than the world to me.

I spend a lot of time running. A lot. I always talk with her about these things, and she never hesitates to encourage me to go for my goals, to put in the time necessary to be able to cover the miles safely. Even before she was a runner and had to be there to run the race herself, she was at the finish line with a camera. Early, cold mornings, wrapped in warm clothes or standing around in the heat. She pores through photos of events and finds all the ones of me, and compliments my form in pure Ashley fashion: “Look at those rippling leg muscles RAWR!” She tells me she’s proud of every little thing I accomplish, whether it’s a fast 5k or just finishing a long run. She’s also there after every daily run to get the details on how it went.

I could go on and on, but I don’t really have the words. She’s the best thing that ever happened to me, and I couldn’t ask for anyone better to be my support and sidekick. So, yeah. I think about her when I’m out running. Usually I’m wondering why she puts up with this nonsense, and how grateful I am to have her.

4. What’s going to happen next?
I usually don’t do one thing simply for the sake of doing that one thing. I tend to set long-term goals and then form a plan to get there – and long runs are a great time to do just that. I ran three half marathons this year to prepare for this upcoming full marathon. I’m running this full marathon to prepare for next year’s insanity. For more on this, stay tuned for a special post in the next few days! I have some really exciting news to share.

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