December 13, 2009

Running the race

So, this past weekend I ran a marathon.

Yes, you read that right. James-Michael Smith, the non-runner, ran 26.2 miles. I finished the Kiawah Island Marathon in 4 hrs, 58 minutes and 39 seconds. I was hoping for between 4:30 and 5:00 so accomplished that goal (though I was a little disappointed that I had to slow down and walk at mile 21 for a little while).

What's really cool is that I was able to run for a good friend who injured her hip during training and wasn't able to run. She let me run in her place and was even there to cheer me on and run the final mile with me. It was answered prayer because originally I missed the registration deadline and thought I wouldn't be able to run at all.

The purpose of running the marathon for me was to see how it compared to earning my black belt in terms of difficulty and endurance. And while it was definitely grueling (especially the last 6 miles!), my black belt test was much more painful in terms of overall soreness and feeling absolutely dead at the end! But it did give me a good idea of what serious runners go through and just how dedicated they are to their sport. For instance, my roomate, and runner extraordinare, Wade Barts ran it and finished more than an hour and a half faster than me!

The greatest part was running it with a number of my good friends and having friends there supporting us. Having people cheering for you and supporting you the whole time is a wonderful feeling. It definitely helps to know you're not running the race alone.

I bet this is one of the reasons why the authors of Scripture used the image of long distance running to present the Christian life on so many occasions:

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. (Acts 20:4)

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. (1Cor. 9:24)

I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain. (Gal. 2:2)

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? (Gal. 5:7)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2Tim. 4:7)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Heb. 12:1-3)

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