I ran 13.1 miles this morning. This was my third (and slowest) half marathon, but I wanted to share some things I learned through the somewhat painful process. Then anyone who reads this can learn what I learned and not have to run a half marathon! What a bargain :-)
Gratitude gives you energy
My favorite part of this race (besides running it with my husband) was the different signs along the way, expressing gratitude for different blessings. I honestly felt a burst of energy when I would remember my blessings as I ran. Gratitude connects you to God.
Relax and trust God
I learned this when I was training. I would set a goal to run as fast as I could to a certain spot, then walk, then pick another spot to run to. At one point I found I wasn't running all that fast and I would tense up and try to run faster. It hurt, but my speed didn't increase much. The I remembered, "Wait a minute, I know how to handle pain, I have had 7 babies! I just need to relax." I made myself relax, and I found I ran a lot faster and with less pain. I practiced this through the race.
It reminded me that while it is important to have a goal I am trying to reach, as I move toward it, I need to relax and trust God instead or relying on my own strength and efforts.
This morning I wrote an email to a friend about an issue I wanted to help her with. While I was running, I realized that in my efforts to help, I was a little worried and tense. I said some things I probably should have kept to myself in my desire to help her see what I perceived was the truth. During my run, I realized that even though my intent was to help, I would have been more helpful if I had only said those things I felt would help her want to seek truth from the real source of truth instead of being so blunt about my opinion. I was trying to follow the spirit, but I don't think the Spirit pushes thoughts on anyone without their consent. Maybe I wan't trusting God enough. I am not sure. But I do know I don't want to send emails anymore if I am in a state of worry.
Pay the price to be prepared
This may seem like the opposite of what I just talked about, but I think the two principles compliment each other nicely. I didn't train for this half marathon as well as I trained for the other two I ran. I was a little nervous that I wouldn't be able to finish. My time was 2:26. It was a lot better then I expected to get. But it was over 2 minutes slower - per mile - then the last half marathon I ran. For that one, nothing kept me home from going on a training run. I ran in cold, icy weather in the dark Baltimore streets. This time, I skipped runs if it was too cold or if I got too busy. It is okay - I had different priorities this time around. But it reminded me how each day I make decisions that determine how prepared I will be for the work God has for me to do.
When that work comes my way (as it does every day), I can be sort of prepared and unsure or I can be excited and well prepared. Preparation for a half marathon can be uncomfortable, inconvenient and not always fun. Especially when your house is so warm and outside is so cold! The decisions I make each day can be to do the comfortable and easy, but those won't help me reach my potential.