May 14, 2011

My Enemy

My enemy is not the woman next to me,
Nor the boy ahead of me.
My enemy is my fear,
My adversary,
the lie that tells me I will fail.


Yesterday, Isaac lapped me.  Twice.

As I felt his approaching presence over my shoulder, I also felt a dark twinge of anxiety and fear begin to dust at the back of my neck.  Then whisper in my ear, "You're never going to catch him.  And you're never going to make it."

My initial reaction was to give in and agree.  But then I got tough and remembered what this is all about.

This whole running thing is not about competing with my son - or anyone else for that matter.  It is about doing something with my son - making a memory, forming a bond.  And it's about doing something for myself - setting a goal at my own pace, meeting my goal and making myself a healthier, happier person in the process.  It is about finishing the race set before me - one step at a time.

And I know I will finish - because guess what else transpired yesterday?  I ran the 25.  You know, the dreaded 25 minutes from this post.  The 25 minutes that almost derailed my journey before it even got started.

And tomorrow I am going to run 27 - and I. am. not. afraid.

So take that liar.  Go whisper lies in someone else's ear.  Ha!

And here's a couple of other random reflections on running, life and other stuff in general:

Balance your focus.  When it was not nice enough to run outside, we were at the gym on the treadmills...staring at a blank wall.  Oh, yeah, that's motivating.  No matter how long we ran, we never really felt like we got anywhere.  So when the weather improved enough for us to move outside, I was so excited.  Now I could look ahead and picture my goal and make some real progress.  Except that I run slow...and it seemed that no matter how fast I moved my 40 41 (*sigh*) year old feet, I still wasn't getting anywhere.  So discouraging...

And then I shortened up my focus to just a few steps ahead of me on the path and, oh, what a difference!! I could see my progress bit by bit.  I could gauge my momentum.  I could see the ground move under my feet.  And when I looked up - just every once in a while - I was always pleasantly surprised to how far I'd gotten'

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." Hebrews 12:2

Sometimes you need to let those you love run ahead.  Isaac loves to run and he is good at it.  I would be both a selfish parent, and a stupid one, if I insisted that he held himself back and kept pace with me.  And isn't that what parenting is all about?   - protecting your children by your side while they still need you, teaching them what you know about life, faith, and the world and showing them the skills they need to make it on their own.  But you can, and should, only hang on to them for so long.  You need to make sure that you are making every moment count now because all too soon they are ready to head out on their own.  And whether or not we realize it, we are passing along a legacy to our children - we need to stop and make sure the baton we pass on to them is worth carrying.  And when they are ready to go, we need to be prepared to say , "I love you. I'm proud of you. Now, run like the wind!"

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." - Proverbs 22:6

When the vultures start to circle you, just keep on running.  This really happened to me.  Seriously.  Ok, maybe they were just pesky crows but they were definitely circling and I'd be lying if I said I was not worried that they knew something that I didn't.  It was towards the end of my 25 minute run when I spotted them and I was losing steam pretty quickly.  "Hey!" I felt like shouting, "You're supposed to be cheering me on, not waiting for me to give up!  Stupid birds..."  And isn't that just like the world - there's so much cynicism and negativity that sometimes I can barely stand it.  There are times when it feels like everyone is just waiting for you to fail - so they can rejoice in it.  But I am going to throw those Angry Birds right back at the critics and say "Not. this. time.  I've got places to go, people to see, and miles to out of my way."

"Do not gloat over me, my enemy!
Though I have fallen, I will rise. 
Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light ."
- Micah 6:8

Amen! And keep on running...

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