Monday, August 10, 2009

I'll run this race for You

I can still remember the wet grass and the fog during early morning PE in Junior High. We got to school just after 6 AM - and put on our red shorts and our grey T-shirts with our names written in black Sharpie and started jogging around the track. I dreaded it.

And I remember 9th grade, when a cute boy I liked joined the Varsity track I joined the Varsity track team. Literally to chase after him.

Running has never been something I enjoyed while I was doing it...but there was a distinct feeling I remember upon finishing. A feeling of intense accomplishment.

I can't explain how or why I started running again, I just know it was something I was longing to do. And after days (and weeks) of saying "I'll start tomorrow," I finally laced up my shoes and just took off.

And as the air burned in my chest as I slowly made my way around the track, I began to talk to Jesus. Out loud.

Teach me to run.

My friend SarahAnn has been instrumental in getting me started. Perhaps you heard me talking about her on the radio. She runs by my side and provides accountability for the days I don't feel like beginning again. She is the one who got me signed up for my first 5k, along with her husband Josh, and our friend Holly.

Don't let me quit.

About two weeks into our new routine, our co-worker Tina decided to join in. Our duo was now a trio. Because of Tina, I found myself at my old Junior High track again because its close to her house. There was an eery feeling as my now 28-year-old feet hit the clay track where my then 13-year-old feet used to run. I felt like a child again, all self-conscious and unsure of myself. As Tina and I ran that course, I remembered all the insecurity I carried in Junior High, and with each stride I took, I thought about how far God has brought me. I wasn't prepared for what an emotional experience that would be.

A few more weeks went by and two other girls from Spirit 105.3 joined in. We now have a beehive of runners. It reminds me of Fight Club. One turned into two, into three, and now five. Before long, I'm sure we'll have nothing short of a parade of people signing up for these 5k's. I'm still not quite sure how this happened.

I forked over some serious cash and bought BOB, the newest member of our Fight Club. BOB is a kickin' jogging stroller that I purchased for Olivia at REI. She loves riding in it, and below is us finishing our second 5k.

Photo credit: Bright Room
Pictured: Me, Olivia, SarahAnn & Josh (SarahAnn's husband). Tina isn't pictured because she finished ahead of us!!!

Running is quickly becoming a model for life for me. Its hard. Often times, I don't want to do it. I get nervous, afraid to fail. I think "perhaps today is the day I will be disappointed." I pray for strength and tell myself just to start, to worry about the rest later.

Help me go farther.

Jesus brings friends along to run beside me. Their encouragement gets me to the finish line. My favorite part is when we round the final corner, and I see "FINISH" ahead. It seems so close, and yet so far. My legs are like Jell-O, and although they are moving, I don't really feel them. I hear Olivia squeal "I see it! I see the finish line! Lets Go!" and I laugh to myself and think "Easy for you to say, you're being pushed in a stroller!"

When I cross with my daughter, she puts her hands in the air! We smile and cheer and search for water. And in that moment, I think: It was worth it.

2 Timothy 4:7 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."