Running the Race

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

Hebrews 12:1

After 4 months and nearly 200 miles of training, Nate and I ran our very first half marathon in Irving, TX. All the carefully patterned sleeping and eating routines, the gallons of water faithfully consumed, the worn shoes and sweat and injuries consummated in this one goal: to finish, and to do it in under two hours.

I am not one of those enviable runners who adore running and live to pound the pavement. Before this spring I'd only run an occasional three miles because I had to. I view running as a necessary discipline that must be endured to improve overall health, fitness and mental endurance. My secret weapon is books on tape which distract me from the misery I'm putting my body through. Multiple times during that race - specifically on miles 7, 9 and 11 - I asked myself again why on earth I was doing this. But I finished. I ran every step of the way, spurred on by Agatha Christie and cheering spectators with cowbells, and I placed second in my age group.

Nate and I held hands as we crossed the finish line, and celebrated in a steaming jacuzzi as our screaming knees and hip flexors called us every name known to man. We hobbled around Irving for the rest of the weekend, enjoying wonderful food and movies and museums and sunning ourselves in parks while trying not to look too much like 80-year-olds with arthritis.

We love Jefferson Street Bed & Breakfast!

Farm-to-table restaurant with incredible food

Venison chili and wildflower honey cornbread (elk tacos for an appetizer)

Yeah, I married him.

Fluffy hair and pale skin just needs to come back in style.

An original Norman Rockwell exhibit at the Boy Scout Museum. So good!

Love this man.

Then we came home and did the unthinkable. We registered for the Disney Marathon on January 12, 2014. Yes, we are out of our minds. Yes, in a moment of extravagant confidence I forgot every painful step of that 13.1 miles and convinced myself that I could do it twice. I hit the "register" button, and then dissolved into a puddle of quaking disbelief.

But today I laced up my running shoes and pounded it out again. We have 8 months, after all. And who knows? Maybe in that 8 months I'll learn to love running. Maybe my body will cross a threshold where I can crank out mile after mile without my joints dying a miserable death. And maybe we will have the time of our lives, flying through all 26.2 miles of those glorious Disney parks. In any case, whether we set a new record or have to stop every 20 minutes and take pictures with Mickey, it feels good to set a goal - a challenging, impossible goal - and make steady progress towards attaining it.

If there's one thing running regularly has taught me, it's a deeper appreciation for all of the Apostle Paul's exercise analogies:

"Run in such a way as to get the prize. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever." - 1 Cor. 9:24-25

"Train yourself for godliness, for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way." - 1 Tim. 4:7-8

"Run with endurance." - Hebrews 12:1

Comparing physical training with training in godliness has shown me that becoming like Christ doesn't just happen. Just as I could never set off one day to run a marathon on a whim, I can't hope to have Christlike words, thoughts and actions without applying myself to His Word and example. This race, reaping imperishable rewards, is so worth my entire life's devotion. May I run here, and wherever God places me, with endurance and with joy.