Yesterday I had the opportunity/torture of “running” at a local race, the Fresh 15k. The event was an exciting, grueling, anxiety-inducing experience for so many reasons.
Let me list them for you (because I love lists):
- I have ran/walked exactly two times in the last six months- one 5 mile jaunt two weeks before race day and one 8 miler one week before race day. Again…Lord, help me.
- This race is somewhat known for its hills in the last 5k of the race. You know the drill by now…Lord, help me.
- All of the factors combined, I ended up walking a good portion of this race. I finally decided, about halfway through, that I would quit looking behind me (to see if I was last), and I would choose to run my own race. Or in this case run/jog/slog/walk/crawl my own race. (The crawling is a slight exaggeration though on those last few hills the all seemed to run together, I considered it.
- Over the course of that second half, I did a good deal of thinking. My phone battery was low, so I had turned off my music to conserve and to allow my Strava to keep running. I was out there with few people around me. It felt a little lonely. It would have been easy to feel sorry for myself. I questioned whether I had the right to be in a race like this as slow as I was. Did I even have the right to call myself a runner? What would people think if I were the very last one? How had I let myself get in this “out of shape” condition?
- My very best friend snapped me out of it. She wasn’t even with me and hadn’t even texted me. Her words from an earlier time simply came back to me. About a year ago, she finished dead last in a half marathon. It was an amazing experience for her. She told me that finishing last is something that everyone should experience. For a runner, finishing last is often the worst case scenario…the biggest of all fears. Once you have face that fear head on, you see that it’s not so scary.
- In the end, I am grateful that I did this race. I have a place to start again on this running journey. We all start somewhere. For me, this is it.
- I am committing to this: I will no longer be ashamed of my time, my pace, my splits, my need to walk. I will not make light of the fact that I got out there and faced a challenge. I did something that was hard for me (even if a 1000 people were faster than me). I will run my own race at my own pace and I will celebrate my accomplishments. I will grow and get stronger and possibly faster, not to beat others but to challenge myself.
- These scriptures are the meditation of my heart in this journey:
“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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV