Sunday, March 18, 2012

Running My Own Race

Well, yesterday I ran the 5K race I wrote about.  Thank you for your prayers -- it was tough, but beautiful and enjoyable.

I ran over a mile uphill... and then I got to the part of race that I hadn't see yet.  It was a trail on which vehicles can't travel... and that last half mile felt like a marathon.  That trail was INCREDIBLY steep without any dips to recover.  I walked the last 1/4 mile or so up to to the turn-around... and at times, it was all I could do to keep walking up that crazy hill.

Then I ran down and finished with a time of 36:12.

I have competed in different races for a number of years the first of which was around age 11.  My parents were very involved in how I trained and how I raced at that age and they always taught me that when you run, you're competing against the clock.  They always told me to run my own race and do my best.

I feel like this race was the first time ever that I really did run my own race.  I didn't care how many people were in front of me or if anyone was behind me -- my goal was to run as much of the race as possible and to finish the race.

It felt really good to be competing against myself instead of anyone else.

As I was running, I began was thinking about how great it felt to really not be affected by the runners around me -- I wasn't trying to pick off runners in front of me and I wasn't upset with myself when other runners passed me... I was paying attention to my body and my running and doing my best.  Period.

The farther I ran, the more I began comparing the 5K hilly race I was running to my walk with God.  Am I content to run my own race with God?

Do I truly heed the words of Hebrews 12:1-2 and "run with perseverance the race marked out for me, fixing my eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith"?

How often have I watched the race of a friend and wondered why my race is not like theirs?  How often have I wondered why they are handling a challenging situation a certain way?  How often have I admired the way they handle a challenge and wish my race and my faith looked more like theirs?  How often do I run with perseverance the race marked out for me without comparing my race to those around me?

In the race yesterday, there was a woman running around me -- sometimes ahead of me, sometimes behind me -- and when she was in front of me, I noticed that she often turned her head around to look at who was behind her.

She might have been doing this for a number a reasons -- maybe her neck needed to be stretched, maybe she had a friend or family member she wanted to keep an eye on -- but I think it was her way of motivating herself to keep moving lest we might pass her.  There were times when I wondered if anyone was behind me or how near they might be -- but the truth is, I was running my race.  Whether or not someone was hot on my heals, I was running my own race and the presence of someone else was not going to change my pace.

This race was a very interesting one to run.  The proceeds went to support local animals shelters and it was a small production with about 60 runners and the whole thing was very laid back.  In this interesting, laid back race, there were people running their own unique race all around me.  There was a mom pushing her little girl in a jogging stroller, there were several people running with their dogs (something to remember when Lloyd is a little older), there were people walking the entire race just happy to support the animal shelters and take a hike, there was one water station at the 1/2 way turnaround... and if you didn't want water, there was also beer.

Everyone on this trail had similar obstacles in that we ran the same course, the same incline, in the same climate at the same time -- but many more factors are different than are similar.  We all had different outfits, different race numbers, different training completed on different routes and in different locations, different ages, different goals, different strengths and different weaknesses.  How could anyone ever compare the race they ran to the race someone else ran?  So many things are different in the hearts, minds and feet of every runner.

If you run your own race and run against yourself and do your best, how can you be anything but proud and relieved (and exhausted) when its over?  When you're always comparing your race to the races of others, how are you ever satisfied?

Are you content running the race marked out for you?

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