“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12: 1c
Last week I did something I never thought I’d do. I signed up to walk in a 5K race. That’s 3 miles to those of us who have no need to ever know what a 5K is. After walking each day for weeks, it occurred to me to start measuring how long I walked. Soon I discovered that I had gone over 2 miles. Then 2.5. Now I have reached 3 miles several times. Yes, I am now a bona fide athlete. Not. :0)
I am not a fan of exercise in any way shape or form. Sometimes if I’m bored of walking, I put on a Jillian Michaels workout video instead. Jillian Michaels is the she/devil physical trainer on The Biggest Loser. I know that this woman is on a DVD and therefore not actually in my home. But when she instructs me to move my muscles in ways that I’m sure are illegal, she becomes very real. At least in my bitter resentment. But I don’t throw the video away. I keep it, hoping that one day, I’ll show Jillian, and I will be able to finish her 25 minute power sculpt. So far, after 10 to 15 minutes I hit the off button and limp around the house looking for Ben Gay.
But I keep going. I don’t quit. At least not yet.
I mentioned that I might sign up for a 5K to my sister-in-law Lory said she said she would do it with me. Thrilled, I went to The Running Store, an establishment that I have now gone to three times. Before I started walking I looked at this building as a place for “those” people – the skinny ones who did marathons and bought stock in spandex. Now that I’ve frequented this establishment, I understand that “those” people are just normal folks, trying to be healthy. I’m still not one of “them” but I don’t resent them. At least not as much. :0)
Along with my registration for the 5K, I got a t-shirt. I registered for Lory and filled in her form. On mine, I checked the largest size available – XXL – while Lory asked for a medium. Um…okay…I can do this, right? A fleeting vision ran through my mind of Lory sitting in a Lazy Boy chair waiting for me at the finish line, while I walked up with my oxygen on wheels beside me. But I dismissed the thought and turned in the forms.
After registering I looked at the day’s events. 7:30 – 8:00 register. 8:15 aerobic warm-up. What? They actually think I am going to waste what precious energy I have warming up? I don’t think so. While “they” do that I will look for a Lazy Boy.
8:30 race begins. When I saw the word “race” and I was immediately transported to Junior High track. The first day my coach suggested that I go out for shot put while she assigned different races to my friends. I didn’t know enough to be insulted until she told us all that we were going to run a 440, once around the track. By the time I finished, my friends were headed to the showers. My coach waited for me to finish and then explained that I had done well, that it wasn’t a race. I’m pretty sure that everyone in my class believed it to be a race. As I stared at the 5K form, I told myself that this 5K is not a competition for me. Adult Robbie vanquished Junior High Robbie and reasoned that my goal is to finish. Alive. With no ambulance needed. I’m not going to worry about the other Junior High girls. Well, the other participants.
9:00 awards begin. At this I cringed. WHAT? This must be a mistake. They expect us to finish in 30 minutes? This is when I lunged into a bitter imaginary conversation with the organizers of the 5K. I used words like prejudice, unfair and illegal practices. I got it all out of my system. And I didn’t quit. I decided to still do it.
Not long ago, I saw a video of a runner who was expected to win the 440 in the Olympics but tore a hamstring at the 220 yard mark. He fell down in agony. The guys with stretchers approached and he waved them off, got up and started limping to the finish line. His dad ran up beside him and helped him to the end. One of those moments that made everyone in the crowd, from all nationalities, stand to their feet and cheer on this guy’s commitment and perseverance. Very moving.
If I pull a hamstring at mile marker 2, I will not get up and limp to the finish. I will whine and ask for ice cream. But I admire this young man’s perseverance and I admire his dad for coming to his rescue to help him finish his race.
We all have our own races in life to run, don’t we? It may be walking a child through a rebellious stage or working through a difficult season of marriage. Or it might be getting up every morning and exercising to get healthy. Whatever it is, let us all persevere. And when we fall, our Heavenly Dad will come running up beside us, put his arm around us and help us finish. Or buy us ice cream. :0)