Sunday, January 9, 2011

Find Your Race Pace

Yesterday I ran 1.3 miles. That was the most I've run, okay jogged, without stopping in weeks, maybe months! I ran with my daughter and struggled to keep up with her long-legged stride, while she struggled to shorten hers for me. This past week, I've determined to get back in shape.

In addition to running, last week I lifted weights twice at the Y and joined a swim class. Stress and low energy levels have been my excuses for not working out recently, and although the stress and low energy haven't changed drastically, using them as excuses has. (Plus...I'm...growing intolerant of the encroaching insulation on my thighs and belly.)

You might think I am motivated by the new year, and that always helps, but much of my motivation comes from the upcoming Memorial Marathon held every spring here in OKC. It just so happens that the new year comes four months prior to the marathon; just enough time to train for the half or full.

I love the Memorial Marathon. I love what it stands for and the spirit in which it is carried out every year. I also love running the half; 13.1 miles. I've never run a full-marathon. Just haven't had the desire, but the half definitely agrees with me.

So for my own accountability and consistency, I'm writing this blog. I want to chronicle my progress and hopefully encourage you in whatever you are training for. But that is not all, as Dr. Suess would say, "Oh no, that is not all!" Running, and just physical training, parallels so beautifully our spiritual race. I want to look for and apply those every chance I get.

Our spiritual journey is often referred to in the Scriptures as a race. Discipline, persistence and focus is needed to "run" our spiritual race. We can make excuses and get spiritually flabby. We can get completely sidetracked and quit the race altogether, or we can keep our "eyes on the prize" and keep moving forward.

In a race, it's beneficial to find a good pace, thus my blog title; one that will allow us to meet our desired finish time. But finding that pace takes practice and perseverance in our daily and weekly training. It takes setting goals, pushing our bodies to certain limits, and pressing on in the face of discouragement or setbacks.

Spiritually, we need consistency; a sort of pace as well. A couple days communing with God and a couple days putting him on the back burner, will most likely create a spiritual limp rather than a steady pace.

The cool thing about running is that you don't have to be first to win. In fact, it's probably the only sport you can come in last place and still be a winner. In a race, the key is to do your best and finish, so if you crawl across the finish line in last place but set a personal record, then you are a winner!

It's the same spiritually. We are each running our own race. It may look and feel differently from someone else's. Others may look stronger or wiser or farther along, but if we stay in the "race" and do our best, keeping our eyes on Jesus, who's at the finish line waiting for us by the way, then each of us is a winner!

I ran 1.3 miles yesterday, because that's as far as I could go...or rather, it was as much discomfort as I wanted to endure at that time. Yet I finished semi-proud of myself and felt inspired to train for 13 miles in just four months. The journey will be tougher than a simple moving of the decimal...but, I'm sure it will be worth it.

"You may never win a race, but you can always win your race."

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