Is all you got.

All it takes is all you got!  That was on the back of a T-shirt at the Monster Dash.  I read that and thought it was pretty accurate.  Almost too accurate in my case.  The monster dash half marathon was a tough race for me and I am not altogether sure why.  I felt like I gave it my all and still ended up with a mediocre time.   And I am not even sure what my “official” time was since there seems to have been some issues with the chip timing for this race.   I have to admit it was a disappointing race for me.  I have had to regroup and get the mental edge back since I have a marathon coming up in 4 weeks.

Caleb could tell that I was pretty discouraged with the result – the result that I am not exactly sure how accurate it really is.  He was very good at helping me to focus on the fact that my pace was better than my marathon pace in June!  He finished the race very well and was already thinking and setting goals for Dallas.  He continually asked me what my goal time was for Dallas.  Trust me on Saturday after the race, Dallas was the last thing I wanted to think about – let alone set a goal for!  And I was sore which told me I really had given my all in this race.  Then I had to face the simple fact that giving it my all might not be quite good enough to get a Boston Qualifying time in Dallas.  That took some time to sink in and this is not the place I wanted to be at right now.  I wanted to run the Monster Dash well enough so that if everything fell into place, qualifying at Dallas would be a definite possibility.

That did not happen.

And I am left with many questions.

However on Saturday after finishing the half marathon, I found the rest of my family and we all  ran the 5K.  I ran with Geoffrey and Giovanna – both doing their first race.  I had to put my disappointment away and focus on my two youngest kiddos – helping them to finish their first race successfully!  That was probably one of the best things that could have happened.  I had to take my eyes off of self and focus on others.  Very Biblical concept!

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy,  complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:1-11)

The focus of the 5K was not on me getting a great time, but on helping Geoff and GiGi have a great first race, encouraging them to do their best and finish well.  Even though I had given my all in the half and was having some pain, I was able to push through it and run with joy with my two youngest children.  To see them running and enjoying their race, taking time to “rest” when necessary and having fun was priceless.  I think that I am learning to not forget the reason I run – the joy I feel when I run!  Experiencing the pleasure of God when I run!  Running with Geoff and Gigi helped me to regain the joy and pleasure.

Geoff and GiGi - near the beginning of the 5K

Most of the time when I run, I run for the sheer joy of experiencing God and His creation.  Training to obtain a goal is not the same as running for pleasure.  But the two are not mutually exclusive.  There are some goals that I would like to achieve – mainly to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  After a disappointing race, it is hard to regroup and stay motivated. It is hard to get up and run when I was hurting most of the week from the race.

So how do I as a runner regain perspective and train at the same time?  Well I am still working on that one, but  I am called to put down “signposts” or mile markers to help me “remember the way by which I have come.”  (Jeremiah 31:21)  So I have designed my own “highway” or road map.  I call it The Wall!

My Road map of remembrance!

On my wall are most of my race bibs – each race has taught me something about running, training and has memories attached to it.  Some of those memories are really good, others well, they are not so good.  But this wall reminds me that with each race, I have gotten better and stronger and faster!  I have not achieved my goal of qualifying for Boston – at least not yet!  But I am improving and each time I look at my “wall” I am reminded of that.

I also have another “road marker”;

Accomplished my goal - 4 races in 2010!

I set out to run and complete 4 races this year – which I did.  This display case reminds me that I accomplished my goal.  And as my son reminded me, I completed most of these races without doing the “training” that I generally do.  I was busy about the work that life brought my way – taking care of aging parents with health issues; loving TCK’s through CLUB 4th, learning how to love my daughter through her most recent diagnosis.  When I do what the Lord has given me to do, the racing falls in place and even though I am not seeing the results I would like, I am improving and still enjoying running to bring glory to Him and feeling His pleasure as I do.  There is nothing better than that!

For now, I am going to concentrate on continuing to improve my form, stride and overall conditioning without losing my joy in running.  I pray that as long as focus on the joy, I will continue to progress towards a qualifying time.  As long as running remains a joy and does not become a drudgery or a chore, the improvements will come.  Speed will come.  Once the joy leaves, running has no meaning  – at least for me!

So for now, Dallas will be another race to get me one step closer to qualifying for Boston and one more race to feel the pleasure of God as I run!