Honestly, I didn’t want to run. Not a single mile. Not a single half mile. Sprinting across the Walmart parking lot was great, more than great. I loved that. But 15 kilometers? Nope. Nope. Nope. (Epizeuxis alert‼) Besides, if I was going to run, I would start with a 5k, of course, precisely a third of the 15k.
But I didn’t. I went wild. And for the record, so did my sis. She’s great inspiration. I digress to the narrative. It was January, a month and a half before the race when we signed up. Now, to understand, this is a huge race in my own city, huge. The racecourse actually cut off traffic on the main street, Broadway. That’s how big. And by the way, 15 kilometers—9.3 miles— is actually a lot of a big city.
The preparation felt great. We ran four miles on our second day, which was seriously the hardest run we had during practice. The next weeks slid by and gradually, we began to get better and better. And the runs were easy and easier. That was a deceitful omen.
I woke up on the race day, at five in the morning, my throat tinged when I swallowed. But I was going to run this race even if I had to die trying. And I almost did.
The car ride was long and agonizing. Like those last few moments before you know your alarm is going to go off—on summer vacation. That was the feeling. We hopped out of the car and headed into the mess of hubbub. The day dawned slowly as we waited for the race to start. Much too slowly for my jittery legs that knew the treachery I was about to put them through. They didn’t appreciate it. So they bounced to make me nervous. How rude.
After a couple curt—excited—conversations with a few strangers, the national anthem, and a boring speech that I didn’t pay any attention to, over twenty minutes later, the airhorn blasted off next to my ear. My legs started to move, my mind petrified in disbelief. I was about to run. And run we did. The gritty gut-throbbing race began and didn’t end until it had taken my body—especially the legs—to pieces and renovated whatever was in my gut. But we finished. Let me be candid. I won’t pretend to be proud of the time it took us. It doesn’t matter now. I knew before we began: it was about the race, not the time.
So, precisely, 97.04 minutes later, a transformed me stepped back over the line. My mind told me to bite my medal—though, obviously not gold—or at least lift it over my head, but no, my mortal body keeled over for a breath. Somebody gave me a drink, but I couldn’t and didn’t stomach a thing—did you say that calls for a hangover? You’re right. Mine was a doozy. On a healthier note, my sister got third place in her age group. That means I beat a couple of girls. Hmm. Not exactly complementary.
The rest of the day I spent telling myself that I was still alive, despite my wrecked legs and sore eyes. Even if I went slow, I promised myself that I had done it. And a beautiful medal kept telling me so—along with some seriously sore legs and a messed-up stomach.
All this to say one thing. You can do it. I didn’t think I could and even if I went slower than I would like to confess, I really think that we tried. So can you. Try your race today. Fail or win. But sometimes—only sometimes—you can win even if you feel like you lose.
Heb_12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,