I ran one track race my freshman year of high school. The 800m run. Two laps around the track.
My first and last race. One and done.
I always wanted to run the 100m dash. Those ladies were *real* athletes. They could run faster than anybody else. Whether they were long and lean, or short and powerful, they got the job done.
I wanted to be like that. So I figured what worked for them would work for me.
Just run, right? If I run faster than anybody else, I’ll win right?
>>Athletes, insert hearty, knowing chuckle here<<
I had no strategic advice for how to run the 800. I just trained with the team and thought I’d figured it out well enough.
At the start of the race, I set my feet in place. Every muscle was engaged. I put my game face on. My heart nearly jumped out of my chest with the anticipation & hope of a win. I wasn't going to be Flo-Jo. I was Flo-Jo.
The starting gun went off. I sprung into action.
At the end of the first lap, I was in the lead. “Flo-Jo” saw visions of Olympic glory dancing in her head.
The spirit of tiredness was upon me. All my energy was zapped.
And I still had another lap to run.
Suddenly, all the people who were behind me started to overtake me. One by one, I was getting sucked up by everybody I’d thought I’d passed for good. My best friend was the last one to zoom by, encouraging me to finish. (Let’s not even talk about how she had enough energy to both run AND talk while my lungs were burning and imploding inside my chest. All I could hear was Charlie Brown’s teacher as she spoke: “Wanh wanhhhh, wanh wanh wanh wanhhhh.”)
I came in dead last.
Suffice it to say that what I didn’t know, hurt me.
But that story has carried some helpful “life nuggets” for me along the way:
1. Life is a marathon–not a sprint.
2. Plan. Strategize. Then execute.
3. A good coach can make all the difference. (Another post on that is forthcoming.)
4. Encouragement is helpful, even needed, but at the end of the day, you still have to do the running. The beauty of this is that Jesus Christ has done the heaviest of the heavy lifting for us. So we are finishing in His unlimited strength, not our own finite ability.
5. Finishing the race set before me was better than quitting altogether.
So…what about you? What “life nuggets” have you picked up along the way? Please comment below and share them!