Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Lighthouse Half Marathon

It was 50 degrees and rainy, but I had signed up for the inaugural race of the Lighthouse Half Marathon, and I was going to run it! I knew it was going to be a challenging course weeks before I signed up, having continuous hills for 10 of the 13 miles.  Add in the 3 hour time limit, if you don't finish in 3 hours, you don't get a medal or an official time... and the pressure was on.  Two weeks before, I had run another half marathon, that was also hilly, and I finished that in 2:48.  So I was nervous.  But I knew I wanted to be part of the race, and I decided to rise to the challenge.

Everything seemed perfect, the temperature was in the mid 50s, and the continual rain for the past 24 hours, had stopped! I met a really nice girl on the bus, who had was running her first race ever... and a half marathon at that!  The day was looking great!  I knew I would encounter a few bumps along the way, specifically the hills, and mud from all the rain, as a good portion of the race was on trails or dirt roads.  But I wasn't moved by it.  I had made up my mind, I was gonna win the battle in my head, and have a great race!

Moments before the gun went off, the rain started.  And it never stopped.  Not for 3 hours.  It changed from terrential down pour, to down pour, and an occasional rain, but never let up.  Once again I decided that my will, my outlook would determine my success.  So I ran, in the rain. And I enjoyed it, most of the time anyway.  I remember the moment when I hit the half mile up hill at mile 9.5, and I was struggling.  I wanted to run it all, without walking, but it just wasn't gonna happen.  It was hard, so I pushed myself a lot, like I had committed, and took as few walk breaks as possible.

 It was in that moment I realized that this race was so much like life.  Even though we get self deluded and think life is supposed to be easy, and everything should magically fall in place, it doesn't work that way.  That's how life is.  Its a challenge.  And so was this race.  The hills were a challenge.  The rain was a challenge, even the down hills were a challenge! Yes even in the decline there were obstacles to over come.  The mud was a challenge.  Despite all the challenges I stayed steady, true and strong and pushed through for the prize!  I made a mental decision, long before I was in the middle of the challenging situation, that I would face it and conquer it!  And in the moment when I wanted to cave I remembered that.  I would state my goal to myself, and then do it!  In the middle of this half mile hill I reminded myself that I have a medal waiting for me at the end, and it is worth the struggle to receive the prize!

The past 5 years of my life felt much like a half marathon, it was hard.  I faced challenges, they were hard, they hurt, and I wanted to give up more than once.  But I made the decision in my head, long before I ever was in the situation, that I am a winner, a conqueror, and that life will not move me! I kept my eyes on the prize, the promises of God for my life.  And in the middle of the hard times I repeated them to myself over and over.  "God you have great plans for me!" (My version of Jeremiah 29:11).  I took walk breaks when needed, but never let the situation crush or stop me.  I pressed on, until the finish line was in sight.  And now I feel like I've just crossed that line, wearing my medal, happy and proud of myself for making it through.  I'm experiencing the thrill of victory, and it wipes away all the pain of the struggle.

Where ever you are in your race of life, whatever challenge you face, don't give up! Make the decision in your head to conquer and win.  Keep your eye on the prize, and speak God's promise to yourself when you need to keep yourself going!  You will get through this.  You will get the medal! You will survive!

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