"Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but [only] one receives the prize? So run [your race] that you may lay hold [of the prize] and make it yours. Now every athlete who goes into training conducts himself temperately and restricts himself in all things. They do it to win a crown of leaves that will soon wither, but we do it to receive a crown of eternal blessedness that cannot wither. Corinthians Chapter 9:25&26
Only 10 days until my first ever marathon. Half marathon. Okay- granted, a 13.1 mile run is nothing to sneeze at, but I hate that it's called the "half". It equals a whole race and that's what I've been training for the past 11 weeks. That may not seem like a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, but 11 weeks of non-stop schedules, work-out routines, eating plans, mandatory bedtimes, etc.... it goes on...an on....
My husband and parents have been very supportive and encouraging. My first "long run" was about 10 weeks ago and my mom and dad were having a garage that Saturday. I stopped by with the kids and was delighted to find a large homemade sign on the front door for all to see. It read, "Proud Parents of a 9.5 mile Runner"!
So far, no injuries that are keeping me from my goal. I look like part of a Special Ops Unit with all my support braces, gear and running paraphanelia. My husband bought me a forerunner gps training watch- I have yet to figure it out completely, but am really excited to obtain its potential. After all the bad press lately in Chicago and Virginia about water/gatorade stops not being prepared enough for all the thousands of runners coming through, I'm glad I wear my own hydration belt. Quite the deal, actually- found it online at a company in Hawaii for a total of $2.95. (Most can't be purchased for less than $40.oo) Seriously, it's worth a picture just for a good giggle now and then.
When the race is over I am going to feel a bit mixed in my emotions. I'm already preparing for it. So, I've prepared myself with two more back to back races. The Thanksgiving 4miler on Turkey Day and the Jingle Bell 5K run the following weekend. Nothing like a good run with the possibility of a snowshower on the side.
My dear friend, Joanie, and I went on a 10 mile run a few weeks ago and had such a great time. She has run the full Chicago Marathon some years back and was such an encouragement to me! We talked and laughed most of the time- one of my most favorite runs I can think of... Right toward the end of our run we were felling a little drained from miles and miles of running, pain in our joints, exhaustion b/c of the warmth, but encouraged to see the 'finish line' ahead of us and just around the bend.
This is our life, in essence...We must pursue and finish the race. We live in a fallen world full of obstacles, but as believers we are filled with joy that the Holy Spirit brings in our everyday lives. We must keep our "eye on the prize", but also enjoy the race. God didn't create us to just 'get through'. We were created to enjoy each step and each day to its fullest as we strive to serve Him and our fellow man.
I watched a short video diary of a runner in the Chicago marathon from last week. She wanted to have the perfect race; the perfect time; the perfect weather; the perfect conditions; but she didn't have any of it. However, despite the poor time, excrutiating heat, lack of fluids...she finished! (One of the small percentage of runners that was able to complete the race before succumbing to the heat or the cancelling of the race). She received her medal after pursuing over 26.2 miles in extreme conditions! And do you know what she said after it was all over at the finish line? "It meant nothing to me...absolutely nothing"
I pray that no matter what situations you go through in life, you will find joy in not only receiving the prize, but also running the race.