It all started a month after we were living together. My teammate Lindsey and I found out that we shared a love for running. We started running around a half dirt, half paved track. Of course we had to roll under a gate to get in, and of course we had to get use to people staring at us. We ran around the game of cricket and past the fifty kids practicing for a Republic Day performance in the middle of the field. We talked about the idea of running a half-marathon together if we found one in South Asia. We continued to run a bit here and there, but it was a year later when we decided to actually start training for a half-marathon. We found a half-marathon in our city that would take place 23 December. After a month of training, we checked the website again to find that the race already took place…in 2010…so we kept looking. In the end we decided, even if we didn’t run in a real race, we would still run the 13.1 miles ourselves.
In high school I didn’t think I could run. After a mile I was wheezing and out of breath. Then in college for a physical education class I had to run a 5k or do a different, more boring assignment. So I decided to try a 5k. From that moment on I realized that I actually liked running. It’s a stress reliever and time for me to be alone and think, a time to commune with God. I had never run more than three miles, but then I had to run 5. Well the first time it hurt, but after that I began to like the five mile runs. Then we had to run 6, then, 7… Training went well, and I pushed myself harder than I ever thought I could go. Our 9 mile was my favorite. We had had a long day already and weren’t in the mood to run, but knew it was our only time to do so, and it turned out to be the best run we had. We laughed, danced, counted sweater vests and couples.
Before we knew it, it was race day. 23 December. I was really excited to be doing something that I never dreamed possible. I had really pushed myself, ran with discipline, and come to the final day. Our teammates and supervisors came to cheer us on. We started mid afternoon. Now, we are not fast runners, but we’re pretty steady. So we ran five miles..then pretty soon we were at seven… then at nine we took a two minute walk break. NINE whole miles WITHOUT stopping! We hadn’t gone that far before without a break! Personal Best! So we started up again, but after mile 10 I really struggled. I wasn’t out of breath… my whole body just hurt! Running in pairs has so many benefits, from deep talks to laughing to singing loudly, but at this moment it was the encouragement that I needed. I would not finish those 13 miles running if Lindsey had not been there to push me, or rather pull me along. Mile 11 and 12, I tried to distract myself by upbeat songs, but it didn’t help. All I could pray was Lord help me finish, help me finish. Finally we had half a mile left, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I could hear our teammates screaming “You CAN DO IT! Almost there!” as they pulled out the gold ribbon for our finish line, and as we crossed the finish line together I was so proud of what we had done. We ran a half-marathon! Of course I was happy, and my stomach didn’t feel too good right afterward and my body hurt for several days after. But we did it! Our motivation and discipline had paid off!
EVERY TIME I run I think of the verse in Philippians 3: 13-14, where Paul says, run the race set before you. Forget what’s behind you and strain for what’s ahead. In my life, I so desire to follow God’s will, to be the best I can for His glory. I want Him to continually mold me into the woman He wants me to be for the work He has prepared for me. I’ve caught the vision, so I run my race He has for me! When I physically run, I understand this verse in a new way. It takes discipline and desire. Just as it takes motivation to get from the couch to the treadmill, it takes motivation to go from knowing about God to knowing God, from learning about His will, to doing His will. When it’s hard and you feel like you can’t go on, look for others around you to cheer you on and push you forward, pray “Lord Help Me!” I’ve finished little goals and tasks God has for me, and I see the great reward of God’s purpose, but I can’t wait till I see the end of the big goal to see everything the way that God does. One day…One day that time will come. Until then I push forward, running the race.