Sunday, November 9, 2014

Lessons from a Fun 5K

So, yesterday I ran a 5K called the Heather Hurd 5K.  It is organized in remembrance of a young woman killed by a distracted driver.  The pictures of multiple individuals killed by distracted drivers on display at the race yesterday (left) is haunting.  There are many reasons car accidents happen and will continue to happen. This one can be avoided.  Maybe someday everyone will catch on.  The race and the idea of avoiding senseless death and injury in the future are part of #WhatMakesYouSoar for me yesterday

So, what else did I learn yesterday?

First, I learned that I could run about the same time as I ran last year.  I ran a 19:16 this year.  Last year I ran a 19:11.  This year, I could have run exactly the same time and I would still have gotten the 5th place overall that I did (instead of 3rd place).  The field was faster this year.  That is a great thing for the race--to attract not only more runners but better runners.   My first mile was fast (and the first mile included both a serious downhill and a serious uphill).  I lost a good bit of speed on the second mile and then regained a little on mile 3.  At the start, I was off to the side in row 3.  (The rows were not all that wide.)  I got out in the lead group that consisted of about twelve to 15 individuals.  That shook out to where I was in eighth about a half mile in.  On the climb up the hill as mile 1 ended, I ran past one guy up the hill and another guy as we topped out on the hill.  That left me in sixth heading into the second mile.  I had my eye on the two guys closest in front of me.  By the end of mile 2, I was able to catch the guy who was one in front of me.  I believe, when all was said and done, that it was more his getting tired than my acceleration, but I did set my sight on him and get him.  I had the guy who was fourth clearly in sight the whole time.  But I ended up finishing about 9 seconds behind him.  (I've gotten good at estimating as I had thought it was about 10 seconds before I saw the official results.)  The other three ahead of us were about a minute ahead of me and the winner broke 18 with no one near him.  When all was said and done, I was able to run with the idea "don't let anyone pass by me again," and there were 22 seconds between me and the nearest runner behind me.  So, it was all a good lesson.

The other part of yesterday's lesson comes from my bib number "57".  It didn't occur to me immediately when I saw my bib number, but I had used "57" indirectly with a friend recently (although it was neither a bib number nor a race time at that time).  The reference 2 Cor 5:7--a verse commonly interpreted as "walk by faith and not by sight."  How did the relate to yesterday?  Well, I tried to look at my watch as little as possible throughout the race and just run hard.  No "sight" of the pace as I went along.  Just the faith that running my hardest would be the right thing to do.  Might I have found the encouragement to push a little harder if I stared at my watch?  Perhaps.  (Especially since I ran 6:01, 6:33, 6:29 for the three full miles, maybe I could have found a way to pull just a little harder.)  But since I could see a guy ahead of me the whole time, I'm not going to put too much emphasis on seeing in this case.  It is what it is.  The race was fun.  I was first in age group and brought home a lovely medal.  I love the cause.  

Before I talk about other spiritual/numerical insights from yesterday, I do want to say that when I was running "against" a walking bunch yesterday (on the course at the same time) and the bunch was students from Harford Community College, one of them shouted out "great job, sir".  I suppose being the first one over 40 to pass them, I should simply take that as a sign of respect, but it always sounds weird to be called, "sir."

Two other numerical insights.  First, with a time of 19:16, I went looking for some inspiration there as well.  And I found it in Luke 19: 1-6.  It is the beginning of the story of Zacchaeus the tax collector.  The story is that Zacchaeus was a wealthy tax collector and short.  He wanted to see Jesus so much that he climbed a tree.  Jesus invited him down from the tree.  Zacchaeus climbed down to receive Jesus and take Jesus to his house.  It is the story of someone who wants something so much that he will make every effort to get it.  And it is about the faith that I seek to show.  As I continue to lead my life (running or otherwise), I hope to keep my faith as a guide at the center of it.  

The final insight comes from my 2000 mile goal.  With 7.1 miles yesterday (I did 2 miles of warm up and 2 miles of cool down--to the surprise of a race marshal who asked if I was going for a second run in my cool down.  I didn't tell her it was actually the "third.")

I sit at 1930.5 miles today (a rest day--giving me more time to write).  I will pass 2000 miles two weeks from today during the marathon.  My goal is to add 0.5 miles total to the remaining workouts over the next two weeks. (I run on 9 of the 13 days between now and marathon day, so this is adding only a small amount to each or even just a half mile to one.)  If I add the 0.5 miles, I will then hit 2000 miles at exactly the 20 mile point.  

That would be cool.  Why?  The 20 mile point has been my "issue" in each of the marathons I've run.  I have been able to hold pace for that long but struggled through the last 6.2 miles.  What is the name of the town I am heading for in my virtual pilgrimage?  Truth or Consequences.  What will be my truth?  What will be the consequences of making or not making it to my goal?  I will find out in the 10K that remains after I hit my 2000 mile goal.  What is the name of the church that I am running to in my virtual pilgrimage?  Our Lady of Perpetual Help.  That is such a great image for what I will be asking for in prayers when I am at the 20 mile mark--help through the rest of the race.  

Life continues to scream out for me to connect the dots in some pretty incredible ways.  And doing this continues to nourish my soul.  It gives me strength.  It gives me meaning.

I hope that readers and listeners find meaning as well.  

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