I have kept faith…

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24

“Today class we are doing the mile run, you must complete your mile within 13 minutes in order to pass. If for some reason you don’t pass you will have two opportunities to redo it next week.” I still remember those word from every Physical Education teacher I had from 6th grade to 12th. I still remember the hope I would have as I chose to try and make it to that 13 minute mark. Unfortunately I remember the hopelessness that I knew every time that last lap came and my time didn’t quite make the mark.

I remember completing my last year of P.E. and telling myself that I would never have to run again. I could finally give up on something that I always didn’t reach the mark on.

A few years went by and I found myself surrounded by people that were very important in my life that ran. Some of them absolutely hated it but they did it because at some point they got tired of believing they couldn’t. I remember leaving running events thinking to myself, ” is this something you could ever do?”

In 2011 I had a conversation with one of my high school small group students about running and she challenged me to try to run a full mile. I was very hesitant. Fear, doubt, and hopelessness came back to memory. I remembered the one time that I actually ran a whole mile I was immediately told that I did a bad job because I finished at 13 minutes and 20 seconds which was not passing. But a students challenge has always been on of my biggest motivations to be better so I tried. I went to our local community college track and started running. I remember trying to do a full mile in the beginning but always being let down because I couldn’t get past the fear and negativity. So I set a smaller goal. I chose to run a full lap. As a lap became easier I would add another. Months later I got to the point where I could run a full mile. I remember the excitement I shared with the student that had challenged me previously. She then challenged me to go faster.

I remember her texting me and asking me if I had ran each week. She would keep me accountable every week and see how my time was. There was a point where she got injured really bad and would tell me? ” Mo you’ve gotta go run for both of us because I can’t right now.”

Two years later I could easily run two miles with out stopping. When I tired 23 I made my bucket list of things I wanted to do before my next birthday. One of those things was to run in a running event. It could be a 5K, 1/2 Marathon or a Full Marathon. My mentors (and college pastors) Jeff and Candice,told me about the 3, yes T H R E E, half marathons they were completing this year and told me that I should join them for one. I remember telling Jeff, that it sounds like fun and is think about it. If you know Jeff you know that thinking about it isn’t an option. Every time I saw him he would ask me what was holding me back. I finally saw that fear was and fear is something that has taken up too much of my time so I had to conquer it. So I started training for the OC Marathon taking place May 4th 2014

February went fast and training was tough but I pushed through. Soon I had to get out of my comfortable 3 mile runs. Jeff and I had a conversation about running 4 miles that weekend. He told me that it was from my house to his house and back. That seemed like from California to Africa! Super far!!! But he said that he would leave a message at a fire hydrant and I would have to retrieve it.

I woke up the next morning terrified. Thoughts of what ifs stomped through my mind. But nevertheless I put my Nikes on a left my house and headed to theirs.

I reached the corner of my neighborhood and ran. It was one of the hardest run I’ve ever done but I remember getting to that fire hydrant and finding the messaged carefully tucked away that only I knew about. I then challenged myself to run home so that I could read the message. I wouldn’t allow my self to open that note until I was at the front door of my house.

Each weekend I added a mile. Candice and I would wake up super early so that she could motivate me to do my best. I was stubborn to say the least. I could allow my mind to tell me what to believe and would give up. Throughout this whole journey my mind was my greatest challenge.

Last weekend Candice and I had a conversation that kind of changed my life. She said to me, “You know running was a huge breakthrough for you spiritually don’t you?”

She was right. Training for a half marathon was one of the most spiritual things I have ever done because I don’t believe I can accomplish it without Gods help. I am not a runner. I’m not. But I am someone who chooses to believe in the strength inside of me and pushes through obstacles no matter how hard they are.

There’s way more to this story that I will have to finish some other time but tonight I go to bed knowing that God has tomorrow. He has my 1/2 marathon because in actuality it’s his half marathon. He’s brought people beside me. He’s trained me. He’s been my ultimate motivation and this half that I run tomorrow at 6:15 am in Newport Beach California, goes to Him.

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