Today I ran the second 5k of my life. To many that may mean absolutely nothing, but to me it means a lot. See, I've always had dreams of some day running a marathon, and running a 5k is just a stepping stone to a bigger goal, so completing two is pretty self-fulfilling.
I have been training for this race (a 5k to crush Colon Cancer to be exact) for the last 3 months, and I must admit I was intimidated. The last time I ran the race I ran with a friend, so it was not a lonesome journey. I had someone who was training when I trained, worried when I was worried and ready to run by my side the day of the race. This year, however, I had to run alone. Alone physically, but emotionally I was running in honor of a few individuals close to my heart who are battling or have battled colon cancer.
As I went through my training, I have to admit I trained almost exclusively on the treadmill with absolutely no incline (crazy, I know). That was definitely a huge risk on my part because the trail of this year's race was not the same as the last race I ran so I had no idea if I should be preparing for challenges.
When I woke up this morning I was full of nerves. "You can do this," I told myself as I got dressed, but as I looked at the weather I couldn't help but wonder what if. "What if it rains?" "What if I don't finish?" "What if I cramp?" The what ifs were speaking to me loudly, but then it hit me. What if it doesn't rain? What if I do finish? "What if I don't cramp?" Maybe I shouldn't go. Maybe I should just stay in the bed. The more I thought about the more I realized that I can't be afraid of the unknown, right? Wrong. I was terrified, but today I let my fear drive me.
I laced up my shoes and headed out to the race. Prior to my race my dad called and offered some simple advice: "If the race gets tough remember you can do all things through Christ that strengthens you." Though he said it jokingly but seriously it was advice that actually helped me through this race. I can do this.
As I began the run the burn gradually hit me. "This is tough," I thought to myself, "by far the most challenging run of my life." The race was practically made up of hills, and remember I had only practiced on a straight path.
As I ran and I promised myself not to walk one step of the race. I noticed many of the runners in front of me walking occasionally. "I didn't train for these hills," I heard one runner say. Sure, I could agree I had not practiced for this either, but I did practice to RUN the race not walk it, and no matter how long it took me I was going to play how I practiced.
As I approached the 4k I felt myself beginning to lose strength when suddenly a young boy no more than 4 who was standing on the side line with his mom pointed me out, "hey you keep running," it was as if he could sense I was getting tired. It was such a powerful moment because I had no idea anyone would notice me amongst so many runners. Yes, everyone else was walking but I couldn't be like everyone else. That wasn't the promise I made to myself or to the people I was running in honor of. I promised I would RUN the race and I did.
Today's run taught me a very valuable life lesson. Even when things get tough, just keep running. Sure it may seem like everyone else around you slows down when things get tough, but you can't quit running. God made YOU not to be like everyone else. Just like the little boy who encouraged me you must always remember there is someone watching you and counting on you to keep running. Who cares if life doesn't go as you planned it would. It happens. You keep running. When money is funny, keep running. When everyone walks out, keep running. When you run out of energy, keep running. Remember, YOU were made to FINISH STRONG.