Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Race

Thanks for the well wishes for my first 5K race last Saturday. I wish I could say I enjoyed it, but I'd be lying. Gotta say it was tough. Tougher than I thought it would be. Here's me with my running buddy, before the race, LONG before we knew what we were in for, I mean, look at us, we're smiling!

This woman deserves BOTH our medals and a thousand dollars for talking sense and speaking truth to me the last half of the race. (More on that later.)

It all started on a cool, cloudy morning. And we're off . . .

I've run three miles (and more) lots of times, but I guess the pressure of finishing respectably among a bunch of strangers got to me. About halfway through the race, my emotions tanked. I was doing my best, giving my all, but found myself at the back of the pack. As I watched people ahead of me stopping to walk a bit then run, walk, then run and still be ahead of me though I was running the whole time, discouragement set in.

"I totally suck at this," I told my running friend.

"What are you talking about? You're doing it!" she replied.

"I hate this. I really hate this. Why did we think this was good idea?"

"You've got this. You can do it."

"I'll do it. I'm not going to quit, but I'm SO BAD at it."

"Stop that right now. Do you know how many people never even try this?"

"What kind of stupid person does something they're terrible at?"

"It takes a lot more courage to do things you're bad at than those that come easy to you."

I knew she was right, but my stomach knotted and emotion welled up inside, causing me to fight back tears the entire last mile. My friend kept speaking truth and I tried to believe it. Six months ago I couldn't run half a mile straight and here I was running a 5K, over THREE miles, but all I could see was the hoards of people ahead of me. Soon God started screaming at me.


My problem was not my slow, old lady legs, but my wandering eyes. My frustration came from comparing myself and coming up short.

"You are totally robbing yourself of the joy of this moment," my friend chided, "You're doing something you've never done before. Now stop it. You're going to cross that finish line and be happy about what you've accomplished!"

I tried, but sadly I couldn't muster up any pride in myself. Kevin said he could tell I was mad as I crossed the finish line. What do you think?

Though the race was tough, I was glad to have run it with these great friends. They were the best part of the day. Here we are AFTER it was all done. We don't look too worse for wear.

And you'll never believe it (I'm still doubting it myself), but I won my age division! I HAD to have been the only person in the 40-49 group.

I think God is trying to tell me something through this running torture adventure. Apparently I have a lot to learn about humility and running my own race. This is not about a fitness regimen. He's working on a spiritual issue within me. So even though I hate it and completely suck at it, I'll keep running. I'll try another race. I can't ignore God's consistent message.

I want you to do something that's hard for you.

I'm not sure why He's asking this of me, but I'll stay at it. I'll persevere and give my best, even if my best is last. If it will make me a better person, the pain (and humiliation) is worth it, right?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Hebrews 12:1

I will run the race marked out for me and I pray He makes something good of it.


Jana Banana said...

"It takes a lot more courage to do things you're bad at than those that come easy to you."

--I like that quote. So true, a good one to remember.

Well done on your race. Your friend is right, you know. There are so many of us (me!) who avoid races like the plague. :) Good on you for seeing it through.

Thanks for the reminder about stopping all of that comparing business, too. Ugh. Too often I'm comparing myself to everyone else and not feeling I measure up. Good post!

Lisa Maria said...

Congrats on your running the race and finishing it! Its more than I could do to walk the 3 miles. I guess we often look at a mountain or race and think its too much for us.. as you pointed out, much like life's trials sometimes. Its SO true about feeling like we fail because we seem to be coming in last.. everybody else seems to be prospering and getting ahead and we're stuck in the back.

Thank you for a great and inspirational post.

Marsha @Spots and Wrinkles said...

Tami - congratulations on your race.

The verse you mentioned is one of my son's favorites. He is the one who teaches special education from a wheelchair - and he says it is the sometimes the "cloud of witnesses" that he envisions that keeps him going.
Blessings to you - Marsha