Yesterday I ran my first official, timed, bib-wearing 10k. I’m #389. (For those of you who don’t know, a 10k is 6.2 miles.) I ran the distance in a time of 53 minutes, 22 seconds, so that’s an average of 8.6 minutes a mile or 6.98 mph. Whoot whoot!
I didn’t do as poorly as I originally thought. Of course, I had to stop a few times to catch my breath, but overall, I’m happy with the result.
I have one more chance to run this same course next Saturday, and I plan to beat my time, to try not to walk/stop, and to do all the things to prep for a race the way I should have done for this one (ie. eat carbs the night before instead of fish and salad, avoid running 6.25 miles on Friday and let myself rest, and go to bed before midnight).
I almost didn’t run the 10k actually. Adam has been super-busy at work, so about a week ago, he decided that he wasn’t going to run this Saturday. I, on the other hand, have been training for this race for a while now, running faithfully since October and busting my butt to do well. Suddenly, when Adam said he wasn’t going to run, I found myself making a million excuses as to why I could not run as well.
I want to do well at the things I do, but somehow, running has my confidence level at a 2 out of 100–low enough to keep telling Adam I wasn’t going to do well, that I hated running with people (I really do), that I hoped I didn’t know anyone there…
When push comes to shove is it worth it? I’m not going to win anyway.
Yeah, I know. Outrageous. Silly. I am my own worst enemy.
Thankfully, Adam’s faithful prodding to not waste my training and to step out and run encouraged me to still go run the race. I’m so glad I did.
I was so scared before I went. However, by the time I was done, I was making plans to come back and beat my time next Saturday.
Caution! I think was just bit with the racing bug.
I want to go back and race again. I want to beat my time. More than beating my time, I want to run better and pace myself so I don’t have to stop and breath for a few seconds during the race. I don’t want to be 87th out 129. I want to move farther up the line, closer to the winner.
Finally, I’m understanding that I’ll have greater longetivity in my running if I have something to train for. I’ll admit. Getting up early to run on a treadmill facing a wall with a tv that plays the same shows over and over is getting old. Boring. Racing and training for something in particular, with a specific goal, gives me a little boost to my step.
I hate to over-spiritualize things, but I can’t help but think of my spiritual walk in this context. I can be quite the loner, running through my daily routine, doing the same things repetively, reading alone, running through this exercise just because I should.
Do I have the same inspiration in my spiritual race that this running racing bug has infected me with? Am I held back by my status-quo as I amble through this course of life, or am I racing with intent and endurance towards eternity?
My motivation for running physical races is as I have already mentioned:
- Run steadily without quitting
- Run faster to find myself near the front of the pack –not the back
- Run without concern of other people’s thoughts and with intention
- Run with confidence and without fear of failure
What is the motivation for running this spiritual race? How are we to run this spiritual race? According the Word, we are challenged to a few things:
- Run with endurance (Hebrews 12:1)
- Run to win the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24)
- Run focused without allowing distractions to sidetrack us (Galatians 5:7)
- Run with purpose and confidence in what we believe (Galatians 2:2)
Hmm. That list looks familiar, does it not? The Apostles, through God’s inspiration, knew the similarities; it’s no coincidence.
Of course, it’s so easy to remember my running motivations, because they are physically challenging, and if I don’t focus on those goals, I’ll will most-certainly shut off the voluntary muscles that control my legs and stop running right where I stand on the course.
My spiritual racing motivations somehow seem harder to remember, because the race is less taxing. Think about it: I’m not facing the persecutions of my surroundings. I’m comfortable with my daily routine and the freedom of it. I don’t have to push myself to certain things like memorization of Scripture because I have unlimited access to the Word. I don’t need to fear evangelizing. It’s freedom of speech; I won’t face reprocusions for sharing my faith. I have it easy.
If running and exercising 5 days a week was that easy, I wouldn’t need motivations to keep me going. Natural-born runners face that temptation. Why train if you can run and place well without even putting much effort into the pre-race trainings? That’s why Adam eats gallons of ice cream a month. Why should he eat healthy if he doesn’t have to fight to be fit. You’ve noticed that right? The people who have the fast metabolisms, who can eat anything they want and not gain a pound, are some of the most unhealthy eaters. Our sinful nature drives us to get away as with as much as we can without having the consequences. Why push ourselves hard if we face no opposition?
In the same way, I fear that my spiritual race has been found with a tub of ice cream in-hand the night before my race. I face no opposition, I have a lot of spiritual knowledge, and I am comfortable with my surroundings. Am I racing or am I strolling along? Am I running so that I’m almost out of breath and can feel my heart pounding or am I chatting it up with my friends along the way, focused more on the “journey” and less on the “destination”? Am I running to win the prize or am I running just because I should? What a humbling
I’ve been bit with the racing bug. I can feel the passion coursing through my veins. I’m ready to get out there, fight through the obstacles and the exhaustion and the challenges in order to accomplish my goals. I’ve been bit by another kind of racing bug as well, the kind that reminds me of the eternal prize and calls me to an intensity that I have been lacking in my spiritual racing training. It’s time not just to run because I should but also to run for the prize, with the goal of winning, with purpose and confidence.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.”
1 Corinthians 9:24