Run Courageous!

I find myself on a plane again. I haven’t slept since my race and here I am going into my ninth hour of sitting on one of four different planes in the last 12 hours. Let’s just say its been a crazy last 24 hours, but that’s okay, I knew it would be. A better word though, I’d say would be “drastic.” Twenty-four hours ago I began probably one of the most drastic days of my life. Twenty-four hours ago I stepped up to the starting line on the baby blue track in the crowded Drake Stadium and took a deep breath…BANG! The gun went off.
I took a few quick strides, looked to my right; open. I’d say it sort of just happened, and it wasn’t my plan going in, but once again, there I was in the lead. I remember thinking before this race how there was no need to lead because someone else would do the work. I was so certain of that, so certain that it would be a real, all-out race from the gun that I hardly considered doing something “drastic” like leading from the gun. I guess perhaps that’s what everyone else thought too, someone else will do the work, not me. Nonetheless, there I was, 100, 200, 400, 800m…and still no one beside me. It felt kind of like a dream. Physically it felt easy, and here I was “winning” the biggest race of my life. I had really no choice but to keep pushing. What else was I going to do? Keep slowing down until we were practically walking and then we could all “wow” the crowd with a 100m race for an NCAA Champion? I suppose that’s how a lot of races these days end up, but not yesterday. I knew what I had to do, just keep moving forward, keep pushing, and run MY race. The funny thing is, most people are too afraid to lead and make it a decent pace because they’re so scared of losing. That’s running for “a win” my friends. But as the title of my blog reads true, I’m NOT running for a win, I’m running for something more. Of course, when the bell lap sounded and I surged for home and glanced at the video and saw that I had begun to gap the field, I was going for that win. Yes, that last 300m may have seemed like they would have been the scariest 300m of my life, and although they were in a way, I refused to think that way. I knew what I was getting myself into, I knew there was a chance exactly what happened would happen, but I also knew that there was no backing off, no waiting; something told me just to have faith, and run courageous, and so that’s what I did. You might think those last 100m of the race would become an ugly memory that will haunt me for weeks, months, maybe even years, but I doubt that. Perhaps its because I haven’t even gotten to lay down and get a real night’s sleep since my race, but so far, I’m genuinely pleased with my race and have no regrets. Sure, there may have been a more tactical way to go about a race of this field, but then again, maybe not? All I know is I was running that race with all my heart, guts and soul, and I know I gave everything I had within me. More importantly, I know what I was running for, beyond the title and the fame, it was all for God. It was for all those runners out there who run for Him, who dream big, work hard, and refuse to back off. It would have been absolutely amazing, a dream come true to win the whole thing. It would have also been nice to have PR’d by just .05 of a second and achieved the Olympic Trials automatic qualifying standard. But something even nicer than both of those, would be for just one person, any person, to have seen me lead that race, and say, “who is that girl?”  And then look up my name and read my story here. It’s a hard concept for some to comprehend, but the fact is, there’s more to running than winning, and there’s more to life than running.
I love running, that’s a well-known fact. If you even stepped a foot in my bedroom and saw all the posters, or took a glance at my facebook, or held more than a 10minute conversation with me, you’d automatically get that. Even so, no matter how much I love running, or any earthly thing, I know my Father in heaven loves me a million times more. That’s the message I hope to spread. If only people could believe this and truly understand what Jesus has done for us on the cross, and what he promises in the future, we’d realize that, yes, it sucks to go from 1stto 7th in the last 100m of NCAA’s, but that is far from the end of the world.
When I think back to my race, I’ll say it again, I have no regrets. I keep thinking back to what I wrote in my last blog, about not worrying and instead trusting that God has me right where he wants me. I really believe this was the case in my race. I trusted going into that race that He would put me in the right position, and I know He gave me the strength to be there. My teammate Violah had sort of the opposite problem from me. Instead of being out in the open, she found herself boxed in amongst the pack. Nonetheless, she finished just behind me to grab the last All-American spot. We were so happy for each other after the race, and Violah was happy with herself. In both the prelims and the finals she had to face adversity and got stuck in a spot she did not want to be, and yet post-race all she could do was praise God for helping her make the final and finish with All-American. This is the attitude of a real champion; to be able to walk away from a race that may not have had a perfect ending, but being able to see how God helped you or used you in that race. That’s the beauty of running for Christ. We just have to run the race with courage, because God always has a plan; a good, pleasing and perfect plan.
Romans12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.

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