It’s no secret at this point that my family is moving to Colorado this summer. So, as any responsible citizen of a great city should, I’ve begun completion of my Charleston bucket list. I’m trying to think of all of the things I wanted to do while I’ve lived here and then… do them. On the top of that list is the Cooper River Bridge Run. Yes, I’ve lived here my whole life. No, I’ve never done the bridge run. Let’s not get sidetracked here and focus on the point. If I’m going to complete this event, I need to train.
I’ve been running off and on for quite a while but I’ve never run more than 6 miles, and outside of that particular one-off run, 5 is my max and 3 is my average. So, being the procrastinator that I am, I decided to start training this past Monday. My goal for the run is to complete it in under an hour. Basically, that’s just fast enough to not have to register as a walker. So Monday I hit the treadmill and pounded out the 6.21 miles in one hour and five minutes. I felt pretty good about that as, by default, it was my best 10k time ever. But, I knew it was probably going to take some commitment and effort to take those five minutes off of my time and get done under the one hour mark. Before we talk about that, let me take you on a slight side trail for a minute…
Just about 2 years ago at what I would consider the “peak” of my running hobby, I woke up with a strange soreness in my legs. This wasn’t the typical post-workout soreness. It was different, way different. This soreness would eventually lead to swelling and pain in such intensity that some days I had to walk down the stairs of my house backward just to be able to get out of the house in the morning. Over the course of a few months, I saw doctors, rheumatologists, physical therapists, orthopedists, and even took a trip to the emergency room. No one had answers. One day I was in so much pain that I finally called a group of friends and said, “I have no other options, will you guys come pray for me?” Side note: I probably should have made that my first call, not the last one. Lesson learned. As we were praying I remember telling the Lord that if he would heal me, I would never forget what real pain feels like, and I would never again take for granted the life that he gave me. I promised I’d never miss an opportunity to crawl around on the floor with my kids, and I’d never forget how blessed I am to be able to do the simple things like walk, breathe, and RUN.
Fast-forward to this morning where I am still trying to live out that promise. I haven’t been perfect by any stretch but I have been committed to remembering what real pain feels like and trying my best to push through the light and temporary to pursue Him with excellence. Today I ran that 10k in 59 minutes and 29 seconds and when I looked at my watch and realized that I was going to do it, that I was going to make that goal God reminded me that it was only by His awesome power that I even had the strength to try. If you know me well you have a question at this point. Yes, I got a little “misty-eyed” at that moment. Stop judging.
Beginning to wrap up my time in Charleston has been bittersweet. There are plenty of things I regret, plenty of missed opportunities, and plenty of “shoulda-coulda-woulda,” but those things won’t be the story that my life will tell. I’ll tell the story of overcoming the odds, experiencing God’s power in mighty ways, and experiencing a life that has been orchestrated by His hand. My encouragement today is to get out there and do something great. Go after your dreams and don’t let anything stand in your way. I’ll close with a quote from a movie called Ultra-marathon Man. It’s about Dean Karnazes, an ultra-marathon runner who runs 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 consecutive days. It’s a piece of advice his father gives him when he is on the verge of giving up, thinking he can’t make it because he’s got nothing left. His father says, “Run if you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must. Just never give up.” Don’t take your life for granted. Go after your dreams, crawl on the floor with your children, cry in the gym, move to another state, make mistakes, experience victory, overcome. Just never give up.