"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead

One look at the Tupelo Marathon race shirt and you sort of figure out that this was no ordinary event.  And after shuffling to the finish line, all I could think about was how accurately the race motto for this quirky Mississippi 26.2 had described my run. Without a doubt I had been trampled (felt like many times) and hurdled (at least once)!

Background: In late spring, a fellow church member and RFG alumnus, who we will call 'The Lewisville Flash,' decided that a Labor Day weekend run in the Magnolia State would be the thing to do. So we registered, trained, and headed out for Mississippi.

All summer we had expected hot, humid, muggy conditions in Tupelo, and so it was good news (tongue-in-cheek), that our expectations were met. Actually they were exceeded. We gathered in the dark streets outside the convention center for a 5 am start. Already in the mid-70's with 95% humidity, it would only climb higher after sunrise. But enough about the weather, it was no surprise, besides I've always believed that the strongest steel is formed in the hottest fires anyway. What really made Tupelo was the overall vibe, which was especially evident at the starting line.

Just before it was time for the gun to sound, a voice calls out from the middle of 600 runners:

"Hey, everybody quiet down and come closer ... tighten it up so you can hear me. Now, we are running the same course as last year. How many of you ran that course (about 20%), good, if you didn't run it last year just follow one of these people. You start when I say 'go!' Now, let's pray ... alright, everyone take off your hats and let's pray....Amen. This guy who prayed will be running out there with you. Go!"

Of course, this is even more classic when coupled with this email that we received last week:

This was great. It was nice for a marathon to take itself seriously, and yet, not take itself seriously. And I mean that in a highly complimentary way. In fact, all informalities aside, the areas that really mattered were fantastic; like aid station support, runner camaraderie, and the post-race atmosphere--especially comfortable as you finished inside the air conditioned coliseum and were met by plenty of seating, refreshments, BBQ, and really nice blues music.

Ultimately, the course--not the hardest, but not the easiest--the heat, and the stage of training that I found myself in for Tupelo, all led to a brutal run. Fun, memorable, enjoyable (yes, it can be miserable and enjoyable at the same time), but very brutal. It was a PR alright, just on the wrong end of the spectrum.

Oh well, the experience is always infinitely more important than the finish time (unless of course I grab a PR on the right end of the spectrum), and after 1,400 miles behind the steering wheel, and 26.2 miles on our feet, the experience was more about seeing the Flash run a sub-4:00 PR, receiving a lesson in Notre Dame football, listening to super interesting life stories, and learning how various rubber products are manufactured. Bottom line; Tupelo was an awesome experience.
(Fill in your own caption on this one!)

Pre and Post Race: Never Easy / Always Worth It!

You run the 1/2, you get a 1/2! Funny :)

The Updated Map - Member of the Southeastern State Club if 50 doesn't work out!

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