Friday, July 17, 2009

Competing or Completing a 5K

I completed my first 5K race last night. It was my first official run since getting pregnant with Andelise. And if I'm being honest with myself, I was feeling quite a bit of anxiety about it. I'm not one to just pick up and go running without building up to a certain mileage first. Nervousness was really grabbing hold of me as I thought about completing a "simple" 3 mile run. I am thankful to have friends and family that encouraged me to get out there and do it.

A 35 minute 5K finish is not something I am normally "proud" of. I will often set out to beat someone in particular, or even just my own personal best. And I will thrive on that competition using it as a goal. Last night was not about competition, it was about completion. This was a new and difficult mindset for me.

My sister-in-law (who I trained for the marathon with) was out in front of me running with some friends. I very soon lost sight of her and was by myself. I enjoy running by myself, but if I'm honest, this was the first race my sister-in-law was going to beat me at and it was hard to accept. My prayer in this race was something to the effect of, "Lord, I don't have to beat Fiona. It's not always about winning. I know you can teach me something through this run. Help me to complete it." I do not like to lose (even if the other person isn't aware they are competing with me).

So, what did God teach me? I don't know that He's finished yet. I did have thoughts going through my mind about life being a marathon. How we need to "run the race that was set before us looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith". How life is not a sprint. I can identify more with a long-distance run because it relates to life. I do think I've already known this so maybe God is working on a lesson that hasn't quite gotten through my thick skull yet. Likely, it's humility. That's probably an on-going life lesson God is attempting to teach me. I don't know exactly. What I do know is that it was a good feeling to complete a race after almost 2 years. I was able to experience that "runner's high" again even if most runners could walk faster than my "run". I was reminded of what wonderful family I have and good friends, as well.

I think I love running alone because it gives me some much needed conversation with God. Yes, much of it may be "help me not to pass out" or "help me to finish this race" but I am able to talk to God in a moment without kids vying for my attention or other interruptions. It's a good half an hour, at least, where I can clear my head and accomplish something. There are the benefits of feeling better about my appearance, too. Most of all, I think I just thoroughly enjoy the way running clears my head. Most of the time my thoughts seem jumbled and rampant. Running organizes my mind and helps me give my concerns to the One who can really handle them.

I did end up finding my competition, after all. There was a girl in orange or pink pants who in the beginning kept yo-yoing me (she would pass me then fall behind, pass me, fall behind). I thought I was keeping a fairly steady pace and I eventually did not see her anymore. At the tail end of the race, she came up from behind. I suddenly began to hear a lot of cheering and suddenly there she was beside me. Anyone who has run a race with me before will not be surprised at what happened next. I got that second wind and pushed it to the finish line. It felt good to cross the finish line, my mind clear, and the girl in those bright pants behind me!

More likely than not, that lesson He wants me to learn is humility!

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