I'm so happy to introduce a guest writer on "Read My Thoughts." Some of you may know him as Sport, some as Chris, but I shall call him CUZ. He lives in Cullman and is a soldier turned firefighter turned fire inspector. He is husband to Ashleigh and dad to Harley and Jace. Now he is officially blogger...Enjoy as he recounts our recent exercise experience!
Ok, before we begin there are several administrative things that must be handled. I am in no way a professional writer, blogger, poster or author of any book at Books-A-Million. I am a proud graduate of the Jefferson County Public School System long before there was a no child left behind law. So saying that, please be advised that I just type as I talk…Southern. That sound you hear while reading this is every English and Grammar teacher gasping at the same time. (Good luck using your red pen on the computer!!)
Theia has been on me for a month now to finish this and get it sent to her and like any good man; I put it on the “get around to it sometime because there is TV to watch list”. But, not wanting to let my cousin down and to rid myself of the feelings of guilt for not following through on my word here goes…
FLASHBACK: Dateline February 7, 2009, Scottsboro, Alabama
Today I did something that is very strange. To some folks it may not, but for those that know me, you’d agree. I ran for fun. That’s right fun. Now realize there was no one chasing me, I wasn’t chasing anyone, and there was no gambling involved. Exercise is not one of the biggest priorities in my life. In fact my idea of exercise is rocking faster in the recliner with a bowl of ice cream in my hand.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have run before. And for you former veterans’ you know what I mean. In the Army, we ran everywhere we went it seemed. Run to the mess hall, run to the firing range, run in PT, run, run, run…then wait patiently because you got there too early. That never made sense to me, to run then get there so soon to have to wait. Some of that hurry up and wait philosophy. But my largest complaint about running is that it hurts.
Back to the story: This all started last Thanksgiving when Theia mentioned the 5K after participating in the Turkey Trot 5K. My wonderful wife, Ashleigh (see workout nut for further information) decided that we would meet Theia to do this. I, suffering from triptophan overdose, thought, “No problem, I got two months to prepare.”
FAST FORWARD to February 7, 2009
Well it’s race day. I have yet to do any preparation for this race, so my answer for stress…cigarettes. I smoked on the drive from Cullman to Scottsboro. I smoked before I registered. I smoked after I registered, and even before the start. (I KNOW...Smoking is bad but I am STRESSED HERE). Doing quick math in my head, I remember that a 5K is actually 3.1 miles for all the non-metric system people. Wow, three miles…what was I thinking two months ago when I agreed to do this?
Theia arrives and we chat for a while in the parking lot. She says she rode the course yesterday and there weren’t any hills, pretty straight shot looks easy. (Translate as: I don’t want to scare you but you must scale Mt. Everest and run across the San Francisco Bay Bridge, turn around and do it again)
Race time was near so we moved to the starting grid. I decided to pull a Tony Stewart and start in the back so I could pace myself and hope that several people would wreck ahead and I could move up. Being that this was my first race ever, I also did not want anyone to see me crying from the fear of it all.
The race started, not with a bang as I had hoped, but with a disappointing toot of a horn. I started out, legs pumping, arms swaying. I was doing good, finding my groove, “This is not bad at all,” I thought. I found a steady little pace and my head swelled with the idea of “I’ve still got it after all these years.” I saw some cones ahead getting closer and from extreme oxygen intoxication I believed that this was the half way mark. WRONG!! 1-Mile mark….UH-OH. Then the inevitable unplanned event happened…the six-year olds passed me. This is not good.
The longer I ran the further the end seemed. The hills began to get larger, the road harder, breathing labored, legs like Jell-O just taken out of the fridge. This is where I had the “Goose Pond Colony Road” Experience. I believe I saw GOD! He had this smile and a small snicker in his voice. He basically told me “Slow down, it’s not your time yet. You didn’t even prepare for this.”
At the two mile mark there was a lady posted on the side of the road calling out the times for the runners. I had to laugh as she called out mine. No Olympic dreams here folks believe me. I came very close to stopping at this point. It would have been very easy to quit here. I mean hey, I paid to do this! They can’t make me run! Will some kind of 5K police come out of the woods and drag me to a waiting unmarked suburban and carry me off to 5K jail?
But, after my thoughts finally collected themselves, I began to pick landmarks to run to. That tree there, that sign there, that bump in the road…eww that ain’t a bump. Anyway the more I did this the finish line was getting closer. I couldn’t see it but I knew it was there, and around the final curve there it was. I was so proud of myself, “I’m gonna make it!” Then idiocy got in my head again, “I think I will sprint the last 1/10th of a mile just to prove I can and then look really cool in front of all the 6 year olds who passed me earlier. That was my mind; my legs disagreed completely and kept me on a steady pace.
As I crossed the finish line, a feeling of relief, enjoyment and new found pride in myself in knowing that I can finish a 5 K. Later we all met in the clubhouse for prizes, gifts, goodies, and sweets!! Donuts everywhere.
I began to reflect on the race while sitting in the parking lot, physically tired but emotionally high. My thoughts took me to the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:24 – Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. I believe I ran in a way to get the prize. My prize was finishing that day and knowing that I did not quit.
This of course led to further thought and pondering and I was led to 2 Timothy 4:7-8 where Paul tells Timothy: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
I think about my “Spiritual Race” as a Christian. Especially how hard it is sometimes in the hills and valleys that we each go through. Even the times when discouragement comes in and we just want to throw our hands up and quit. But Paul said it the best, giving us the hope of a greater reward than any medal or T-shirt. A guaranteed life everlasting with our Savior, Jesus Christ is worth a lot more than those. I have now learned to keep looking for the next landmarks to focus on, but ultimately to look for the finish line around the corner.
Keep Running and God Bless.
P.S. If anybody finds my cigarettes please send them back…gotta another 5K on the 28th.