In what I see as the 2nd chapter of my professional running career since leaving the Mammoth Track Club 3 years ago, I’ve experienced some great highs and low lows. The highs of running 2:04 and making my 2nd Olympic team and the lows of having to DNF in the most important race and not making it to the starting line in others. I’ve gotten injured from training too hard while under a coach, and gotten injured from training too hard while being self (faith) coached. In some ways, it feels like much longer than 3 years with all I’ve experienced.
My recent injury, an overuse injury of bursitis in my hip, was the hardest one for me emotionally. After having injuries keep me from previous marathons, I really wanted to toe the line at the New York City Marathon and have redemption. If it was just a matter of losing some fitness I would have considered it, but the risk of further injury as my hip was not yet 100% made the decision clear. But I am trying to learn self-control- Sometimes you have to say no to good things in order to experience great things.
It’s in moments like these that your reasons and motivations you do what you do crystalize. I don’t run for a paycheck, for fame, or to meet others’ expectations. I run to test the limits of my God given ability and go after the dreams He has put in my heart- big dreams. I make choices in training that I believe are going to be the best thing for me to meet those goals- both in the short term and long term. But I also push the envelope, I’m not afraid to take risks. I’m not trying to train conservatively to run 2:09, I’m preparing to run 2:04. That has meant unfortunately I haven’t made it to the starting line of every marathon I was entered to run, just as the Kenyan guys who also train to run 2:04 experience. But the process has been needed to learn how hard is too hard. This is the balancing act of elite marathon training. Self-control is more needed when self-coached but I find it interesting that some of the best marathoners in the world are also self-coached (including previous World Record Holder Patrick Makau and fastest man ever at the marathon Geoffrey Mutai).
I wouldn’t want to live this last year over again. However, I believe that God wastes nothing when you give your life to Him- he redeems it all. And the trials actually prepare you for the victories because of what you learn. I am now more prepared to know the limits of how hard I can train, and training to that limit is what is going to be required of me to reach the goals I have. I have grown in perseverance and my ability to relate to others in pain and injury. I have grown in my appreciation for racing itself. I have seen the support the running community can offer and the potential to inspire, and I have also seen how the running community can treat you like a Roman gladiator- only interested in me putting on a good show but not really in me as a person or my health. I have grown closer to God as I have had to depend on Him and His Spirit to encourage me and teach me to thrive despite my circumstances.
I appreciate the support of my sponsors and fans who believe in me and look forward to celebrating moments of redemption with you in the future. Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas and a great start to a New Year!
Dear Ryan and Sara – Thank you for the update Ryan. We support both of you always. We love you guys and know that you will always do your best. and we trust that god will give you the direction you are looking for in your running careers.
love – Aunt Kathie & uncle ken
Ryan, I have followed you for the last 5 or 6 years now. I started running after I stumbled upon a video on youtube of you running a tempo in Mammoth with the song “Mighty to save”. You inspired me to get up and start enjoying the two legs God has given me. I appreciate your boldness to speak about God and his amazing love. stick with it bro, you’ll have your redemption!
You are such an inspiration Ryan! If there is one thing I have learnt from running, is that with every setback – you grow stronger. Thanks for giving me inspiration to continue training, and I am wishing you and your family a merry christmas and a happy new year!
When I hear you boldly professing you faith even in the midst of trials I know that God is using your testimony to brings others to know Christ. If you just won every marathon you ran then people would the idea that since he follows God that he gets lots of stuff so that is why I should follow God but what your showing people is that no matter what the circumstance, that following God is the best thing. Your finding joy in your suffering and growing stronger in your faith. When people see this some might be turned off by it but what I see is a Godly man who knows where his hope lies. Who knows that all things work together for the good of those who love God according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). I thank you Ryan for being a light in the midst of the darkness and hopefully I’ll get to see you in Boston this spring Lord willing healthy training for both of us.
Thank you for this blog post. I have been struggling with finding the same joy in running that i have in the past. i know that i am to use this gift in running that God has given me to the best of my ability, but i haven’t been doing a good job of thinking about it as much as I should have during my training. I’m extremely thankful for people like you and Sara, for you guys have been great role models to me and I’m sure other runners who are strong in their faith.
Hi Ryan, Was it not you that started running in mamoth lakes when you were young? You ran with your dad. Now mamoth lakes is were all the runners go to train because of you. Is there anyway you can go back there and train Like old times with Meb? I think you would see results.
Thanks I hope you read this Ryan
I am very appreciative of how you have shared your perspective on difficult times and how god can and does work through those challenges. i have enjoyed following you over the last several years and love to read how you and your wife have used your platform to share your faith, but perhaps more importantly how you have demonstrated your faith. may god grant you and sara his richest blessings!!!
Great blog. Keep chasing your dreams. Listen to those people that believe in you!
Blessed and challenged by your words. God often uses the more difficult moments and uncomfortable situations to grow us the most. You are a solid man of God from the fruit I can see and I appreciate your willingness to share your story and challenges. I believe GOd wants us to be transparent and let others see god at work in us instead of being people pleasers. Whether you win a major marathon or never race again I will always respect you.
hOW YOU LIVE — NOT EVEN HOW YOU PERFORM WHILE RUNNING — IS A TRUE TESTAMENT. kEEP IT UP, BOTH OF YOU. yOU ARE BOTH TREMENDOUS INSPIRATIONS. (aND WITH YOU, i’M SURE hE IS WELL PLEASED.)
Some see a runner who had a failed year in 2013. I see someone who has a very grounded life, and who realizes what is important. does this mean both of you are not fierce competitors? absolutely not, but failure is merely and opportunity to learn and improve. only one judgment matters, after all. none of our judgments rise above his judgment. from all I know about both of you is that you are living your life in a way that inspires others, and is true to his name.
God works in mysterious ways Ryan.
Good luck & keep the faith.
I’m continually inspired by you both, in ways that extend far beyond just running. i feel blessed to have experienced your VIBRANCY. thank you!!!
Nice update Ryan…I hope and pray 2014 will be a year of redemption for you as you strive to achieve the goals God has placed in your heart. You’re an inspiration! Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, the ultimate goal
persevere in him
GO ryan , you da man! follow the road that god has paved for you. your faith will carry you through this life well beyond your running years, that is the foundation upon which your life is build.
i’VE BEEN FOLLOWING YOU SINCE YOUR FIRST LONDON MARATHON AND WAS IMMEDIATELY IMPRESSED WITH YOUR GOD GIVEN ABILITY. YOU HAVE BEEN A PLEASURE TO WATCH AND OF COURSE THIS YEAR HASN’T BEEN THE BEST FOR YOU. bUT i HOPE AND PRAY THAT 2014 IS A GOAL ACHIEVING YEAR FOR YOU AND THAT YOU REMAIN INJURY FREE. i LOOK FORWARD TO WHAT’S IN STORE FOR YOU. gOD BLESS AND HAVE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS.
tHE WISDOM YOU SEEK TO GAIN FROM CLOSELY EXAMINING THE CONTENT OF YOUR LIFE IS TRULY INSPIRING. tHE WAYS IN WHICH YOU DECLARE YOUR INTENTION–AND THEREBY PUSH THE ENVELOPE MARK YOU AS A HEROIC FIGURE. wHAT YOU PROVIDE AND SHARE MOTIVATES. THANK YOU.
Repentance and humility are marks of a Christian. I don’t know you but I can tell you that in my own life I often need someone to keep me focused on my calling. Submitting to someone human is a way of submitting to God. It is easy to submit to god in theory but hard to submit to a coach. Physicians don’t treat themselves and athletes should not coach themselves. As I said, I don’t know you and I’m not judging you, but you need to stop talking about 2:04. Forget about your past performance and focus on the future. You need a coach who you trust and submit yourself to that person’s wisdom. You are thinking and talking too much. Just train. Let someone else do the thinking. I wish you happiness and healthiness in 2014.
Hi ryan and sarah you guys have kept this 61 year old runner running after many
set backs in 2012 and 13 and a pace maker implataiton god bless me with two completed
1/2 marathons. keep the faith my friends. when you are in boston come worship with us
merry christmas or as our kids say happy jesus’s birthday have a great 2014 and a sub 2;04