Friday, October 28, 2011

Running the Race -- Urbanathlon Chicago 2011


"Therefore … let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1).
I fanned open my bible to Hebrews 12 and read the verse.  It is a familiar one to me. I’ve read it, leaned on it and had often done so.  

Right before the race (Urbanathlon Chicago 2011) (click to see the course -- 10 miles and 7 urban obstacles through the city of Chicago) I tucked it away in my in my mind. The thing is, I knew that I needed it.
The race set before me that day was a physical one. I trained. I ran. I applied BioFreeze to my sore muscles and foam rolled tight muscles frequently.  I was ready, physically, but it was the negative self-talk that was weighing me down.

I have issues with this problem, not just when I run a race, but in life.  Like cockroaches in the dark, words of negativity about myself scurry around, creeping me out and keeping me back.
Words like …

You’ll never finish.
You’re not strong enough.

Who do you think you are?

Why do you even bother trying?
You’re just going to disappoint yourself – and worse, yet, others.

I don’t know where they come from or how they get in, but suddenly, there they are. Like I said, creepy.
So, as I worked up to and stepped up to the starting line a couple of weeks ago, I clung to this verse.

Throw off everything that hinders – all the NEGATIVE SELF TALK – and run the race marked out for you.
I’m still reliving some of the moments of the race, and still smiling.

My goal was to finish the race – finish the race with a smile on my face for my kids – and I did.
That's me in the middle, getting a boost from below, over the last obstacle -- the 8 foot wall.
I didn’t do it perfectly. I needed a boost over a few of the obstacles (the giant tractor tire and the eight foot wall at the end). I tripped once along the way (and felt sorry for the guy behind me. I think I almost gave him a heart attack as I flew forward, catching myself before the ground caught me). I had to take the “penalty push-ups” when I couldn’t get over the marine hurdles, but I made it across the monkey bars without falling (and did a little victory dance when I got through them).

Over a police barricade near the beginning of the race. I was still feeling fresh ...

That's me in the lime green, getting ready to crawl over the bus.
I'm making my way through the mud, and over a taxi ...
AND I had fun. I ran with courage and strength, determined to do my best. I persevered and stepped on a few cockroaches of negative self-talk along the way (can you hear the crunch? I know – gross!), as I climbed over police barricades, slopped through mud and made my way over a city bus and taxi cabs. I enjoyed the scenery and I enjoyed the people that I chatted with along the way.

It was good. God is good for continually teaching me, transforming me in all things.
I finished, and I’m proud of myself for taking on the challenge and conquering the race, but maybe even more so, overcoming the obstacle of my negative self-talk and  facing my fears.

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