I feel like I just won the grand prize. Granted that's far from the truth, but in my eyes I made it to the finish without getting swept off the course. And that might as well come with an Ed McMann sized check. This morning I 'ran' the Virginia 4-Miler here in Lynchburg. (Not the 10...are you crazy?) It's not just any 4 miles, but true to the Hill City's name, it's far from a flat road course. Let's just say over a mile was one hill climb. And that wasn't the only one.
You should know I've have hated running of any kind thanks to middle school gym class. The mean-girl comments & stigma of being slow has stuck with over the past two decades. Which is really a shame. <Side Note: our words matter - as kids, teens, adults, etc - we either encourage or tear down. And I don't want to be the later for someone else. Personal goal> So this year, was the first in a while when I wasn't going to be working or out of town on race day. And this is a Lynchburg tradition. One I knew I wanted to take part in at some point in my life - so why wait? Plus, I needed to fill the medal void in my life. What can I say - I'm drawn to the shiny & sparkly things in life. So I signed up a few months ago with every intention of getting my butt off the couch. But then work got busy. Church got busy. Traveling took up time. Life got crazy. And then it was run week.
So of course I started dreaming of collapsing on the course (I have asthma...another key reason I should have trained). Then I dreamed I invented some new way of running that remarkably resembled walking on water. I simply glided past people while singing and leisurely chatting. And well, that's anything but realistic. But my awesomely supportive man had signed up with me & kept encouraging me that we would start & finish together. Our goal: finish before they closed the course.
So of course I did the most important thing first: go shopping for something to wear. Cause really - if you can't beat 'em, be fashionable right? We set our alarms at an hour I normally refuse to see unless there is a Disney vacation departure depending on it. I gave up my morning coffee, guessed at how fast (or should I say, slow) we would be, and we jumped into the starting line. BEFORE
And then we ran. Walked. Held my side. Walked more. Ran a bit. Walked up Mt Kilimanjaro (at least it felt like it). Walked. Ran. Threw a water cup to the side like I was a pro. And crossed the line hand in hand with my main man. And I couldn't believe I had done something that I didn't think I was capable of. Was I speedy? Absolutely not. Did people walk the whole thing faster than I ran/walked? Absolutely. But that goal of finishing before the course closed? We beat it and finished with less than an average 16 minute mile. (I know that's slow, but for being a couch potato and with the mountain climbs - I'm beyond ecstatic - heck it's my personal best!).
But what I did was challenge myself to do something that I knew I wasn't good at. And as far as I'm concerned I succeeded. It was a great reminder for the perfectionist in me that I'm not perfect. And I don't want to be. But I am capable of things far above what I deserve or can even dream of.
I wonder how often we choose to sit out on difficult tasks for fear of failure. We as Christians cling to this verse often, myself included, but over & over again I thought of it when I wanted so badly to stop - "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13. And I kept going. Even when the going got really really really hard, I never stopped.
Some of my favorite moments from the day:
- Starting my morning by almost tipping over the Port-A-John....by stepping in it. That takes talent folks.
- Being lapped by the might-as-well-be-Olympians when I was just past the 2 mile mark (aka they were on mile 6).
- Being passed by 80+ year olds (one of which was nice enough to encourage me not to stop cause well I wasn't 80 & had no excuse....it worked - I didn't stop!)
- Passing & being passed by friends and co-workers sharing encouragement along the way.
- Throwing my water cup. Twice. Cause that's what real runners do.
- Falling in love with my new Under Armour capri's. Pretty sure I'll wear those after work. Like every day.
- My medal. A perfect visual reminder of what perseverance can do.
- That I made a new memory with my best friend.
- That I rocked that medal all the way to Starbucks. I have no shame.
What are you putting off doing? Cause there's no time like the present.
Update: Today every inch of my body hurts. Advil and the heating pad are my best friends. But you know what? Sometimes good fruit comes from through trial and pain. And I'm in pain. But I still have that medal. Such a superficial example....but no less true.