November 18, 2013

Whose Inspiration are YOU?

       I jumped back into the running world yesterday!  The last 5K I ran was several years ago, in another country in fact.  Since then my body has 'revolted' and most of the last year has been spent getting all of me back under control!  I've slowly dipped my toes into my Asics again the last few months, and am finally back up to 5K speed.  And right now I am camped out on my bed, pooped.

       The Honey and I, and our friend Mike, arrived together on Sunday at 6:30 a.m. in downtown Shreveport to run the first annual Logjammer Half Marathon and 5K.  He, and 600 of his likeminded friends, ran the 'half' (and his first by the way) and I just stuck with the 5k.  By the way, all of our Louisiana 'cold snap' has dissipated.  The AC is back on and the weather this morning was a crisp 75 and about 100% 7:30 in the morning....... in November.

        I should also tell you that we awoke ready and refreshed from a wonderful night's sleep after a filling, nutritious meal the night before.  Ahhh, that would be too easy.  Our evening meal at a not-so-noteworthy Mexican restaurant the night before left us 'yucky'.  I can tell you there were groans and grimaces with stomach complaints soon after we got home.  We finally made our way to bed, and then, the smaller four-legged friend who somehow found a home with us 7 months ago, decided 2 a.m. was the time to get up and out of her kennel.  The barks began and continued every half hour or so till 5-ish.  Again, refreshed and 'ready to go' we were not!!!

       Time to suck it up folks! Numbered up and 'chipped up',  the 7:30 start time came soon enough and most of the crowd were off and running!  Those of us who were not worthy of the 'half' hung out for our 7:45 start time for the 5K.  Let me just add here that if you have never raced, or even just started a race, the feeling is incredible.  'Adrenaline pumping' is an understatement.  Can I just say that runners are an interesting lot, with all shapes and sizes represented.  However, as I was telling my hubby, the really serious runners, who I was able to watch finish at the end of the big race, usually came in shirtless.  At least the men did.

       My group, it seemed, was not as hard core as the other, which I found refreshing.  It's always comforting to run with fully clothed comrades.  We ran the route through the downtown area along the Red River, that is, as we cut our way through the thick, wet air.  Did I mention it was humid?

       Typically, around the halfway point, the mental battle begins.  At this point, it's time to pick out someone to catch, or aim to catch, and push through.  Then finally, when the finish line is in sight, cheers from strangers bring us all home.  Those cheers have a way of overriding whatever is in my head.  I'm never sure how that is possible, but running home to applause and acclamation is indescribable.  It reinforces the importance of our words of encouragement for those that surround us in our lives everyday.

       Wet and sweaty, and wet.....the finish line volunteers doled out towels, and bottles of chocolate milk.  Ahhhh....perfect.  Then after I'd finished, and cooled down, and dried off somewhat, a random lady caught my arm and my eyes.  She said, "You didn't know it, but I was a little bit behind you, watching you.  You were my inspiration!"  What?  I am a nothing runner.  Barely up to race status at all.  I walked away feeling great and mulling what she said.

       Isn't all of life just like that?  Especially the Christian life.  Whether we like it or not, we are always inspiring those just behind us.  Maybe some of our problems and even tragedies are encountered so that we can turn around to cheer on those just coming in?    I love the passage in Hebrews 11-12 that talks about the race and our cloud of witnesses.  What an incredible day that will be.  Think of it, Moses and Abraham, and yes especially Jesus, cheering and clapping as we cross the finish line.  Brings a smile just imagining!

       No matter what you do, you've been in it longer than someone else.  That someone needs encouraging.  During these weeks of Thankfulness, why not make an effort to realize His gifts - those souls that helped you and cheered you in to the finish line?

        Then turn around and find someone who needs some cheering and applause and bring them across with you!

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