An Update: Running Reflections Part 2
It’s now Motzei Shabbos, March 19, 2022. Friday was Shushan Purim and Klal Yisroel suffered a terrible tragedy: the loss of Maran HaRav Chaim Kanievsky zt”l. This awful news strengthened my resolve to still attempt to achieve my next goal to be able to grow in my ruchnius in memory of the Godol Hador.
Which goal? Friday happened to be the day that I had set for myself to reach my next goal: a 13.1-mile run (half a marathon). I set out to Shacharis in the morning with my amazing 11-year-old son Yosef and his bike in the car, then off to Will Rogers State Beach to follow the bike path there for this run. Yosef biked alongside me and kept me hydrated as needed. (FYI, the general rule is 6 sips of Gatorade every 2 miles!) This “milestone” run was different – there was no fanfare, no special T-shirts or swag for team Feiglin. Just myself, my son, his bike, and the pavement. We set off. And kept going. And going. Spending some of the time listening to music. One foot in front of the other. Pause the music to clarify some thoughts. One foot in front of the other. Had a little chat with Yosef to make sure he was doing OK. 3 miles left. 2.5 left. 2. Those last 2 miles were brutal – and while my head was telling me to stop and walk for a few minutes, my heart (and legs!) decided to just keep running. The mantra that kept me going was אין עוד מלבדו, there is nobody but Hashem who can grant me the continued strength to complete this! Every .01 mile felt like an achievement and required gratitude to the One Above for making it happen! And then, after about 2 hours and 40 minutes my watch buzzed “Goal Completed”!
This was different from my first 10K. There, I had a program with a deadline and a plane ticket at the end. Some delicious food waiting for us at the finish line, a medal, a photographer, and a group of amazing people achieving their goals. Honestly, I would have felt somewhat foolish if I didn’t follow the training program rigorously! But, this 13.1-mile goal had no hard deadline – this was truly a personal achievement. When I finished, I declared to Yosef that Team Feiglin was the official winner of the first ever Shushan Purim Los Angeles half marathon! The most gratifying reward was the inspiration my children took from this achievement!
Was I sore? Yes! But the frigid waters of the Pacific Ocean are as good as an ice bath to soothe inflamed muscles! So I stretched and then went into the cold water for a few minutes. Hashem gave each of us a body to use to its full potential – if the human body wasn’t supposed to run then He could have created us without that ability and certainly without the ability for our muscles to recover as quickly as they do!
Going from barely eking out a 10-minute run 6 months ago to achieving this goal is, to me, an astonishing testament to what we can achieve if we put in the effort. (For those counting, that’s a 16-fold increase!) I have been running twice a week since I started, and consistency is the key to success in many areas of life. Physical exercise on a consistent basis builds our stamina and ability. Similarly, we need to remember that learning Torah daily and enhancing our Mitzvah performance builds stamina and strength in our Yiddishkeit.
I couldn’t end this article without thanking my incredible wife who has supported me throughout this fantastic journey (that is IYH far from over!), my kids for encouraging me (my 2.5-year-old asks every time I come home “Daddy are you running today? 6 miles?”), and my coach Rabbi K who is always there for support, advice, and motivation. And, of course, to Hakodosh Boruch Hu, who makes everything happen for a reason. I look forward to sharing my next goal with you soon!