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Carbohydrates and The Atonement (or the hope thereof)

October 18, 2008

(Note: Cristina and I are getting back into our running thing again. This time we’re training for a half marathon sometime this winter. In the spirit of this training, I thought I could re-post a few of the items that I wrote for the Mormon-themed blog I founded a couple years ago, and have since left to other authors.. I wrote a series of posts while we were training for the full marathon during the summer/fall of ’06. Hope you enjoy…)

Last Saturday, we ran ten miles as we continued to plow our way through our condensed marathon training schedule. It was approximately 105 degrees outside by the time we were finished running. My marathon lesson last week was consequently thus: At the last day those who do wickedly shall be forced to run up hills in hot weather.

Typically on our long Saturday runs, the coaches map out routes that are along the coast for two reasons:

1.The ocean breeze is cooler.
2.The topography is much more conducive to avoiding excessive hills

This past week however, was designed intentionally to condition us for hills (seeing as how the marathon is in San Francisco).

Now, up to this point I have been able to coast through these runs without too much difficulty. The combination of (relatively) short distances and the absence of hills had successfully convinced me that I was nothing short of a super endurance athlete. I was quite… proud… of myself.

So on Saturday I packed my fuel belt with some shot blocks (gelatin blocks loaded with simple and complex carbohydrates) and some Gatorade and jogged triumphantly over the first hill of the run… and then the second hill…only sorta as triumphantly and then by the third hill, I had shed all my triumphantiness and had settled into a much slower than normal pace. I realized, after we passed a distance marker, that I was only about 1/3 of the way through the course and I had used up about 2/3 of my energy. This was an unbalanced equation and I was lookin’ to end up as a fraction of the superhuman I had once thought myself to be.

Enter the shot blocks. Shortly after the halfway point I started pounding those little gelatin blobs of condensed energy and prepared myself to explode with power… any second now all my pain would disappear and I would catapult to the finish line.. any second now… it’ll just…. Kick in…… sigh.

The magical burst didn’t come the whole time I trudged up the largest hill. The hot sun baked my face and the bottles in my fuel belt soon ran dry. That hill, the one which I had expected the shot blocks to carry me through, was the longest ¼ mile I’ve ever run in my life.

Shortly after I had completed that hill on sheer willpower, the shot blocks finally came to my rescue and I finished the run comparatively triumphant and energetic considering the whimpering shell of a man I had been reduced to earlier.

In light of some of the recent posts and comments regarding the Atonement and “all we can do”, I found a new perspective last Saturday. I was able to summon the ability to push myself a little bit further than I really thought I could go. Why? Because I had hope that those Shot Blocks would eventually bail me out if I could just hang in there for another few steps.

I used to wonder about the concrete effects of the atonement in our lives prior to the advocacy for us on Judgment Day. It’s crystallized a bit for me now. The effect that a hope in the atonement can have on us whether we struggle with sins, grief, unbelief or some other malady just might be all that we need to carry us to the end of the day. It doesn’t quite give us the will to press on, but like a derrick over an oil well, it draws that power out of us, the power that was instilled by our divine heritage.

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One comment

  1. nice analogy.



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