Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. I Corinthians 9:24-25 (NIV)
Realizing I needed to put my feet where my mouth is, I restarted the Couch 2 5K this past weekend. Yes, restarted it. I began the program in late August after a doctor’s visit where once again she talked about the benefits of exercise and I heard myself say, “I’ve been thinking about training for a 5K.” My doctor got excited and started talking to me about how much fun they were (come to find out she runs MARATHONS!) The last thing she said as I left was, “I’ll see you at the Jingle Bell Run.” Um, how did we get to that part of the conversation where I promised to really run a race? She told me I was healthy enough so that blew that excuse. When we returned from vacation, I didn’t tell anyone about it, just put on a pair of old sneakers and started to run. I did no preparation or stretching. I didn’t buy an expensive pair of shoes or sporty running clothes. I just started to run. It took me two days to get my music on ITunes synced to the running program, another two to realize that the cheap plastic armband I bought for my phone was not going to work. But, by the second week, while it was not easy, I was getting along and determined to finish the nine week program. Even though I was still checking the phone sure that I had missed the cue to stop running. Even though my face was red for an hour after I returned home and my family kept asking if I was okay. Even though my neighbors followed me in their golf cart “encouraging” me along. Even though at times I thought I was going to die. Even though my husband told me I was too old to run. Even though I knew I looked like Tim Conway shuffling down the road. Even with all those excuses, I kept reminding myself that I was going to run that 5K and send the finisher ribbon to my doctor. So, I kept on running. Until week three day one. Seven days of running and my shins gave out on me. By the time I made it back home at a crawl, I was in such pain I thought I would feel better if someone just cut my legs off. That’s when I called the personal trainer for help and got the fancy running shoes. But, then, we went on vacation, M. came home to stay with her dad, work kept me busy and other things got in the way. That was a dozen Gigi’s cupcakes and a Coconut Cake ago. Still, I kept thinking about presenting that ribbon to my doctor. If not for my health, for my pride, I put on the new shoes, did my stretches and headed down the road. I’m running to finish the race and like being a follower of Christ, it is not always an easy task.