Going the Distance
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” 1 Corinthians 9:24
This past weekend Coulter and I ran a 5K. I love running, so I thought how fun to share that passion with my children. They know that Mommy runs to be healthy (physically, mentally, emotionally) and I try to keep the other reasons to myself (namely so that I can continue to zip my jeans.) My sister-in-law has a fantastic wardrobe and she’s really quite generous about sharing. I don’t breathe too well in her clothes, but so long as I keep running I know that they will at least zip.
And so I run.
But I’m not a great runner. I’m not fast. I’m safe. I want to know that I can finish so I choose a conservative pace and I run, slow and steady, and I’ve been doing that for 20 years.
Coulter, however is not conservative. He is competitive, And despite my plea for him to pace himself, he shot off of the starting line at something near a 7 min mile pace.
This is a tad off from my 10 minute mile pace. I panicked. I can’t run this fast. What if I can’t finish? What if he can’t finish? This is SO not safe. I literally sprinted to keep up and I still couldn’t keep up. Every time a group passed him, he would run harder; faster, just living in the moment of right then. Adrenaline pushing him forward.
My lungs were on fire. It was freezing and I was praying and I was so far out of my comfort zone and yet I kept pushing.
Trying to catch him.
Into the third mile, he started to slow. He needed to tie his shoes and I was able to catch up. We walked for a while catching our breath and then he took off again. Sprinting. And I would encourage and I would caution and oh, how I wanted to play this safe. Oh, how I wanted us to finish.
Somehow, even with our walks during the third mile we finished in just over 27 minutes, which I get is not groundbreaking information, but it was personal best for Mom and the first of many for Coulter.
And it has me thinking. About running, about life, about a divorce that seems to go on and on and on and how everyone always says “slow and steady wins the race” and “life’s a marathon, not a sprint” and yet I think, “Really? Are we sure about that?”
What if life is not a marathon, what if it’s more like interval training? You go hard; you go fast; you rest and repeat.
What if slow and steady is just slow.
What are the moments we’re gonna remember? The moments when we finish our run, barely breaking a sweat, heart rate nice and steady or those throw-caution-to-the-wind moments; those abandon our fears, break down pieces of wall moments, driven by adrealine and passion and not fear.
There are mountains and valleys and the valleys are safer and this I know because I’m all too happy to hunker down there; just me and my children. Safe.
But Coulter needs mountain tops and Emma Claire needs to feel the wind on her face and their Mother needs to learn that sometimes it’s OK to just let go and run hard; to quit worrying about the finish line; quit worrying how it’s all gonna turn out; quit wondering if she’ll fall or fail or ACK! not finish.
And you know what? Their Mother is trying.