Running the race set before me

For those of you who I did not mention this to, I ran the annual “Monument Ave 10k” on March 31. My dad came down & ran it with me. I originally decided to do it in December merely as in incentive to keep me jogging/exercising to lose my “baby fat”. I need goals. So I jumped in & registered. The scary part was that I knew I would kick myself if I stopped to walk, but when I registered, I was not able to finish 1 mile, let alone 6.2. Really. Not to mention the last time I ranin an actual race was my freshman year of high school…in 1994. Then in January Ryan surprised me with a membership to Gold’s Gym for my birthday. That was awesome, since they have child-care I could go work out regularly without trying to fit it into his schedule (hard to work out with kids climbing on you…& I don’t have or want a jogging stroller). Anyhow, the race was INCREDIBLE. not to brag but….well…ok, bragging….I ran it in 1:08:34. I realize that’s not any kind of record for..anyone, but for someone who couldn’t jog 1 mile before wanting to puke 4 months prior, not too shabby. My dad finished at 1:08:35. lol. he could’ve beat me by at LEAST 10 minutes, likely 20 (maybe more..i’m not really sure), but he kept pace with me the whole way & at the end I forgot to warn him that I was going to sprint to the finish, so caught him off guard. I thought i was going to throw up & my body felt like it was going to give out but when i saw how close i was I just got the banner in my sights & took off. it felt REALLY good. I can only imagine how slow i was actually going but it did FEEL fast. I really enjoy finishing races with a sprint. exhilarating. I’ve been training on a treadmill which is quite boring & since i’m stubborn (or determined depending on how you look at it) I only run one pace, I refused to slow down, so basically the longest i went in the gym was 4 miles & only did that twice & just barely made that. I think i averaged about 2.5 miles regularly. Needless to say i was quite nervous about 6.2 however running with my dad & talking with him was great, then on top of that there were so many people on the side with posters & cheering ect. they also had bands at (seemingly) every mile playing for the crowds & the camaraderie among the runners was incredible. we slowed to talk with a few people before passing them. it was such a social thing. I didn’t even feel uncomfortable until mile 5 & then the crowds started getting bigger & i started really getting into the cheering. everytime we passed people cheering or bands we’d always put our hands up or clap & say “woo hoo”, & slap little kids’ hands as we ran by. Kinda felt silly (not everyone was as enthusiastic as my dad & I so to be honest, we were probably dorky), but it was just too fun. I also had some great conversations with my dad.

my top 3 favorite posters were “was that a bolt of lightning or was that my grandad running by?”, “nice legs”, & “runners are sexy”

we totally yelled out, “thanks!”

so all day today i’ve been thinking about it in light of the book I just finished reading (“when life & beliefs collide” by Carolyn Custis James). It’s a book about why women need good theology. It’s geared toward women, but of course everyone needs good theology, so I would recommend it to men as well. She gets into some gender issues at the end that I’m not sure how I feel about….but a good book nonetheless.

In the book she often uses the race analogy. & it’s all i could think about the day after the race. not only about the idea of pushing past the pain & even using your “training” when you hit hard spots (theology being your training, tough life circumstances for hard spots)….for example, i started to get a cramp in the second mile (weird since i NEVER got cramps while training) & my gut reaction is to breathe shallow, tense up & clamp down on the cramped spot. In one of the “pre-race” emails updates sportsbackers sent out, it said you should do slow deep breathing & shake out your arms & neck & do your best to relax everything. easy to say, but in the moment not what i’m thinking to do. However i did after a second do just that & almost immediately it went away. James says we’re like that with our theology, we’ve learned who God is & that He loves us & works for our good, but in the moment, our instinct is to dispair & think he’s either out to get us, forgotten about us, or doesn’t love us. anyway, that wasn’t the big thing i got out of the race. it was the “family-ness”. that we’re in the race together. there were thousands of people in that race (over 20,000). even though i felt like i was going to throw up on the drive in b/c of being nervous, once i got in the starting corral, it all left. there were soo many people. we weren’t racing each other. we were racing the clock, our minds, our bodies. so we’d encourage one another, cheer each other on. Some people who finished would run back up the sidewalk for the last mile to encourage us to keep going that we were so close. & honestly, if it weren’t for that i would’ve stopped at mile 5. that’s when my body hurt & my brain starting saying things like “you can’t do this, you can’t breathe anymore”. but i knew i was close & i knew THEY had finished & while they were obviously in better shape, I still was encouraged & it kept me going. & the “cloud of witnesses” (ha ha) really empowered me. I wasn’t afraid to stop in front of them, i wouldn’t be embarrassed, but they were just so encouraging i COULDN’T stop. i just don’t remember feeling that kind of community with strangers in a sporting event. maybe in elementary school when i was on the swim team….but only with MY teammates’ parents. it was like having thousands of teammates.

I’m already pumped for next year. glad to not HAVE to run for awhile, but i’ll def. do it next year. my dad said he wants to as well. we both emailed each other the day after, that we think we can shoot for under an hour for next year. i’m pleased w/my time, seeing as how in december when i started i couldn’t run ONE mile, but i think i can do better. it will be fun. so ya’ll should TOTALLY do it next year. God is good. it seems so strange that something generally not fun, could be so very enjoyable. i really did feel the “pleasure of God” like the guy quoted in that movie pastor doug talks about (10 pts to anyone who can name it).

….it may have sparked a new addiction.

One thought on “Running the race set before me

  1. Enjoyed this post, Jenn. It almost makes me want to try the 10k. =)Btw, I still owe you a good movie night. Oh, and it’s Chariots of Fire, of course. ;-) (Yay, 10 points for me!!)