It was April 2010 at Bible study. I sat by a friend on the couch, chewing the fat while we waited for things to start. He had recently done a marathon. As whenever I hear people have done marathons, my jaw dropped with a, “Wow. I could never do that. I hate running.”
He said something along the lines of how running takes a while to get in to. But that at about the three week mark, something changes. And you get addicted.
I don’t know why, but for some reason something changed in me that day. I’d always looked at runners with envy. And that day I decided I’d try to become one.
It’s been over a year since that day. I’m a sporadic runner unless I’m training for something specific. I’ve done nine races, including a half marathon. I’m by no means a fast runner or a serious runner but, hey, I am 30 after all. Body doesn’t work quite as well it would if I had started running at 15 or 20. At least I’m doing it!
I had a race last Thursday. It was just a 3K. (See? I told you I’m not a serious runner.) Short, sweet, informal, fun
The runners gathered at behind the piece of green duct tape on the street that would serve as our starting line. The front row crowded full of tanned and cut bodies adorned with sleek sunglasses and wick-away clothing, the shoes an assortment of neon colors. Logos for Adidas, UnderArmour, New Balance, Nike, Newton, and Mizuno were splashed across them like stickers, and a few dozen wore shirts emblazoned with the names of their running clubs, fingers poised above their wristwatches ready to set a new PR. My pasty-skinned complexion drifted to the back of the crowd in my cotton tank top and red-and-white shoes (which actually are Brooks – once I wised up and realized that real running shoes mean less pain).
Each time I show up for a race, I feel like an impostor. Like a sheep in a the midst of wolves or a cheezy, GeoCities website in the midst of sleek, WordPress blogs.
Up until the moment the starting gun goes off, I worry that someone’s going to look over at me and go, “Uh, what are you doing here? You mean you’re trying to run? Hey, check out this chic. Security! Take those running shoes away from her! She doesn’t belong here!”
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Sometimes I feel like that with my faith. I don’t read my Bible daily; sometimes I’ll go so long without reading it that I can’t find it. I forget to pray for those things I’m supposed to pray for. A curse will occasionally slip through my lips. I don’t tell people about Jesus; you’d think I would have talked to my coworkers more than once in the last seven years, right?
But then I remember that God didn’t call us to a list of dos and don’ts. And He doesn’t expect me to be perfect. And He doesn’t want me to make a show of my faith; the Bible says to go pray in the closet, not the middle of the street. I should be intentional, yes, but I also shouldn’t compare myself to others.
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Know what the only requirement was for running that 3K race? Paying the entry fee. And I did that just like those people in the fancy neon shoes. In fact, since my race number was “3”, I probably signed up before they did.