This is one of my writing assignments from a course with Bob Goff. In order to keep the nature of the class exclusive and private, I will not share what my writing prompt was. Enjoy!
Two hours, twenty nine minutes, and seventeen seconds. That’s how long it took me to run my first half marathon in 2017. If you are a runner then you know all about what I like to call “runners logic”. Runners logic is pretty much the mentality that “if you can run a 5K, then you can definitely run a 10K!” It doesn’t stop there though, because “if you can run a 10K, then you absolutely can run a…” you understand where this is going. The only thing is though, running a half marathon doesn’t seem to have quite the same emotional result. “Are you going to run a full marathon now?” people ask. To which I say, “on top of wanting to roll over and die, the reality is that a full marathon is next level commitment as a runner. Commitment that this mom does not have time for right now!” So, I set a new goal in sight. What if I ran ANOTHER half marathon, but could beat my time and run it without stopping?
So there I was in 2019 two years later, signing up for my second half marathon. As I started my training, I was quite surprised to see that I was running with a split pace of about nine minutes! This shocked me considering typically I run with a pace of about ten minutes. That pace didn’t match up with where I was in my running journey. For weeks I didn’t believe it. However, my watch continued to say this week after week all the way up till the week of the race. At this point I had convinced myself that I was going to run a half marathon in UNDER TWO HOURS no matter how crazy it seemed.
The week of the race I discovered something actually had been way off with my watch. As much as this did not surprise me, it was extremely frustrating and embarrassing. Not only was I completely wrong about my pace, but because I trained to run without stopping, my pace had actually SLOWED DOWN from what it was before I even started the training. Great. I went from claiming that my pace was nine minutes, to the realization that it was more like eleven.
Talk about being humbled.
Training to run thirteen miles is an exhausting lengthly process. Wasting all of that time thinking you are living in a reality that didn’t actually exist, is annoying and felt out of control. However, I could have prevented this! Everything I knew about myself, running, and all my past training, pointed towards that not being true. I knew in my gut that something wasn’t right and there were so many things that I could have done. I could have ran with a friend, restarted the watch, or used a phone tracking app instead. I refused to do any of those things. I chose to believe what sounded impressive, over embracing the reality of something lesser. I chose to believe what was easy and right in front of me, over embracing the reality of something that would require hard work. I embraced what I was being told even though it didn’t make sense. If I had trusted my intuition, I could have been more successful in my training and accurately planned for race day. I failed to trust my instincts.
As frustrating as all of that was, I was reminded of the familiar narrative we can experience with Satan. He lays down lies upon lies and dresses them up to look desirable and true on the outside. We receive them day in and day out, believing things to be true of life, ourselves, other people, relationships, faith, marriage—Things that we WANT to be true out of convenience or pride. Have you ever stayed in an unhealthy friendship or marriage by hanging on to the one aspect of happiness that exists? Have you ever believed a lie because it felt better than embracing the traumatic truth? Have you ever believed you’re not capable of accomplishing your dreams because believing you can means having to put in the hard work? I have.
We don’t just accept these lies, we wear them. We fasten them tightly to our wrists so we can look at them whenever we need to. We refuse to consider anything else until we are shown something different. This refusal traps us and we are unable to move. That is Satan’s goal—To hold us back. You can never truly move forward while believing a lie. Lies hold us back from the truth God desires us to live in—A truth that will bring us “across the finish line” in the perfect time. This is our story in all aspects of life, and the reality of a deceitful cunning relentless enemy who never stops. Lies slow us down, but the truth gives us the chance and freedom to move forward.
So what did end up happening on race day?
Two hours, thirty two minutes, and twenty six seconds. I didn’t do it. As I crossed the finish line I had two choices—Lies or truth. The truth is… I ran 13.1 miles without stopping and no one can take that away from me. I am still strong and capable. The lie is… I’m an actual failure and can never reach my goals. I should just give up trying to do better. That would be easier. Lies can still feel good when it prevents us from having to face hard work and self awareness. No one should ever believe any of that though. It will hold us back from living out God’s best for our life.
Lies do that.
So I chose truth, despite the temptation to believe the lie that the enemy displayed for my tired body and heart. I finished strong, and my heart also rested in this truth…
13.1 miles you hurt me, disappointed me, but you also inspired me. I made some mistakes along the way but I learned my lessons and found a new joy within the process. I learned that the strength isn’t just in the fact that you finish or how long it took you. It’s that you had the courage to start in the first place.