I was up at 5am this morning and on the road by 6:30am. The race started at 7:30am. About 6:40 I found a traffic jam heading into downtown Fort Worth. It was at this point I decided that if I race again, I will have someone drop me off. Many people were getting out of their cars and running to the starting line while a family member or friend took over to get out of the traffic.
I drove around and found a spot where a parking meter used to be and hoped that the police would be too busy with traffic to give me a ticket. I walked/jogged to the start line and made it with about three minutes to spare.
Each runner got this little tag that had a microchip in it. There were recorders at the start and finish to get your actual time so even though I was farther back in the pack I wouldn’t be penalized.
The first mile reminded me of why I don’t like large groups. According to the results website, there were over 3300 people running the 10K. I didn’t get elbowed but I did have to weave around people who were walking or just running slower than me. I was struck by the imagery of this sea of people moving in a single direction with a single purpose. There were groups of people at strategic points of the course with cowbells cheering us on.
I was dreading the hill that started out Mile 2. I drove up it last week and had been trying to pysch myself up all week. However, once I got there it was nowhere as bad. And once I was up the hill I was able to lengthen my stride as I hit a long downhill stretch.
Running in such a large pack was helpful at the beginning because I always start off too fast. So the pack kept me on pace for the first couple of miles and then I slowly moved my way forward.
We were passing a water station about half way through and some guy in front of me decided he wanted to stop and cut back across traffic. I was trying to be nice but he got a little push as I didn’t want to stumble over him or break stride.
Finally after we passed the mile 5 marker, I knew it was time to kick it in. I picked up my pace and started zigging and zagging trying to find empty space to run. I finished the race in 1:00:40. Very close to finishing in under an hour. But I did average a 9:45min pace so I am happy.
I’m a very visual learner so it wasn’t until the race today that the running metaphors used in Scripture really sunk in. In life we find ourselves running in a pack of people that are going at a whole different speed. You know that you can do more but it will take you breaking out from the pack and moving forward.
I also watched people trying to take off shirts and running with backpacks and was reminded of Hebrews that calls for us to lay down everything that encumbers us and run the race before us. Earlier in that verse the author speaks of how there is a cloud of witnesses. Having those people at the finish line cheering me on helped me to keep going all out. My hope is that as I continue to run, that I will continue to learn spiritual lessons from my endeavors.