The race is not given to the swift, nor to the strong but to the one who endures until the end! Today was a race day! Actually everyday is a race day, but today was an actual 5k run race day. My first race of the year at the beginning of spring, my favorite season of the four. This race was symbolic for me in so many ways. As the race approached I was faced with many challenges. Honestly, I didn't think I would be able to run.
1. First Fruit Race - in honor of my Heavenly Father who gives me the strength to run and the ability to endure even when it's hard.
2. Spring - the season of new life. Everything that dies during the winter is now being resurrected again. Trees begin to bear fruit, produce flowers, grass turns green, weather begins to warm, bees begin to produce honey, etc. Life is new and its time for some spring cleaning!
3. The Arts - near and dear to my heart. As a professional artist I always try to support community arts programs especially those that incorporate wellness.
When I arrived at the Porter Sandford PAC, the crowd was building. Check-in went smoothly. Vendors were available for wellness checks. We started off with a group workout lead by a fitness instructor. Surrounded by hundreds of people, we all made our way to the starting point. GO!!! As I began my slow and steady pace, I observed the hundreds of people walking and running around me. After the first few minutes the large crowd began to dissipate as the more experienced runners in the lead gained some distance. As I looked ahead the first hill was in sight. No longer did I see the hundreds of walkers who were now all behind me, all I could focus on was getting up that hill. Slow and steady, I paced myself.
Determined and pushing forward with a little more speed, the crowd of runners ahead of me seemed to thin out as the now leading runners began to walk. That hill was a monster! As we approached the top of the hill, I focused on regaining my steady pace while talking deep breaths. Filling up my lungs with oxygen, I exhaled and down hill I went. Down hill I went! Instantly I had an epiphany. If life is one long endurance race then the hills are the trials we have to endure. Up and down we go. Slow and steady we push through the resistance, then down we go with lightening speed if we don't pace ourselves. Pace yourself when your rolling downhill, because if you go too fast you just might lose your balance. Down hill is the time you need to breath. Nevermind the walkers coming up along side of you or the runners. Keep your pace, focus on your race and your breathing, because guess what, another hill is coming.
As we continued along the race path, I approached the straightaway, observeing fellow team members encouraging each other and water carriers distributing water on the sidelines. Water on the sidelines? I guess some people might need water if the did not take the time before the race to hydrate. During the race is the worst time to drink water. Hill number two is now approaching and again with a slow and steady pace I pressed up the hill.
Focusing on my breathing and nothing else, I reached the top of the hill and noticed an even bigger gap now between the experienced runners and the walkers. Regaining my balance and taking deeper breaths, I had reached the half way point. The leading runners were still going strong, I being one of them! That is until hill number three! Just when I thought the rest of the race would be a breeze, another hill was before me, just like life. As soon as you think you have finally made it to reaching your goal, another curve ball is thrown your way. This moment unlike any other moment in the race is critical. Why, you may ask. Because this is the make or break moment. After running up and down hills, enduring the straightaway, trying our best not to become distracted by the people in the crowd, you must maintain your focus and keep your head in the game no matter what! You may have stopped for water and now you have a pain in your side (pain and sickness). You may have failed to stretch before you ran so now you have a cramp in your calf. You may realize that your not in the shape that you thought you were in to run a 5k at all! Maybe your like me, got a call on your smartphone by mistake because of that darn auto answer, interrupting the steady beat of your endurance music. Whatever your reason, these obsticals are designed to slow you down or get you to quit all together [ARE YOU STRONG ENOUGH TO PRESS]
Admitting, I had to power walk the last hill because I did not have enough wind to press my way up the hill because of the unexpected phone call. Foolish mistake, but it was one of my daughters. Even your children can be a distraction to your goals.
As I power walked up the hill, catching my breath, I purposed in my heart to finish running. Again on the downward hill I regained my slow and steady pace and pressed on. Along the way there was another small hill that I cleared with no problem. The finish line was in sight. My legs felt like I was carrying 20 pound weights around my ankles. It was hard to run. I had to power walk for a moment until I could suck in enough air to run again. To my surprise one of the runners came up along side of me and said come on let's finish this together! Thankful for her encouragement, I began to run. With less than a mile left to go I was almost there. By now I could see the finish line. The fellow runner who had just pushed me to finish was now walking so I decided to return the favor. "Come on where almost there" PUSH, PRESS, ENDURE! Through the finish-line I went beating my personal goal and finishing strong.
Excerpt from The Endurance Ride of Life Chapter 6: Detour Around Distractions
ISBN- 13: 978- 1484966082 ISBN- 10: 1484966082 2013 © All Rights Reserved by Chi T. Mathias. ChiTMathias.com
For a few practical tools and fresh inspiration through my personal life lessons learned, grab a copy of The Endurance Ride of Life. Available in ebook on Amazon.com