"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.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Gig'em Aggies

Last month I completed a "memorable" run through Aggieland in College Station, Texas.  And since I know a few of you are wondering -- well, at least two of you, running buddy Paul and my father-in-law Jack -- you have not overlooked the race recap from this event, there simply hasn't been one. Not surprisingly, I have discovered that the length of time to publish my thoughts and observations after a race is directly correlated to race performance and post-race recovery, for both the body and the pride :) So, in the case of my Lone Star State experience, let's just say the race recap will be out, oh, let's see, sometime around 2018 ...

"My Car is HOW FAR from the finish?!"
Actually, I will let this picture be worth a thousand words for the Bryan - College Station Marathon. And in short, I will describe the race with words and phrases that will forever be associated with it in my mind: monsoon, flash flooding, respect the marathon, never shortcut the shoes, never taper for three months, chocolate milk (they gave out 1/2 gallons at the finish), cut-off time, and as there is a Springsteen song lyric that aptly describes every marathon experience, "it's gonna be a long walk home."

You've probably guessed that things didn't go that well. You guessed correctly. However, the view is always worth the climb when it comes to marathons, and the finish line is always a reminder of the enjoyable course conversations, the landmarks and sights, and the lessons learned. There were several of each of these.

The BSC was also a race of "firsts." It was the first race yet where I could have definitely used wiper blades off the edge of my cap. We've had rain races before, but these first few hours were HEAVY!  More serious though, the BCS was the first marathon that I have experienced pain  -- knee and feet -- and not simply fatigue. As a result of many poor decisions, the final nine miles required a bit more grit and perseverance than normal. There were moments that the acronym DNF flashed before my eyes (Did Not Finish), but in this 50 state pursuit, there's no room for the dreaded DNF - only the DF's. {Update: Good news - five mile run this morning and all parts back to normal}

For Aggies - This is a great shirt
Finally, I am in total agreement with Alberto Salazar (I'm pretty certain it was Salazar, if not Bill Rodgers), who humbly said that it was easier for elites to run a marathon fast and to finish in less time than those who need several additional hours to complete the race. He felt sorry for 'us' because that's where all the hard work and long hours on the course really beats you up. Amen. It's also where you are constantly asked, and with good intention, "Are you ok?" (see photo above). My standard reply became, "No, but yes, thank you."

Bottom line is that Texas most importantly provided an opportunity for me to go home. My birth state, and much of my raising. Where my wife and I were married and where my parents reside. Where the baseball field at A&M is named Blue Bell Park, and where Whataburger is still the best post-race recovery meal. It would have obviously been more pleasant to have had a good weather day and to have prepared better for this one. But that wasn't meant to be and it proved once again that every single marathon provides such unforgettable and unique memories. (That said, it would be  especially nice to enjoy some dry memories in the next one; which as of late, would be very unique indeed!)
Nothing says re-fueling like a WB with Jalepenos!

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