Early this morning, Eddie and I took our place behind orange road cones and waited for the words, “Runners take your marks, get set…GO!” We attended the 5k at Llewellyn Park in West Orange, NJ, a gorgeous, historical gated residential community and former home of Thomas Edison. I went with little motivation, expecting nothing more than a leisurely jog through the beautiful, autumn scenery. But no sooner than the first corner, I discovered this would be more difficult than anticipated.
Almost immediately, the route took us to a near 45-degree hill that stretched for at least half a mile, something I was not prepared for. It was then that I had to decide to either tackle it and give it my all, or simply run with little effort, as originally intended. I decided to go for it.
After the first hill, I reasoned there would be more, and began mentally preparing for them. They could come at any second, just around the next turn. Hills have a way of either crushing a runner’s spirit, or propelling it, and if you’re not ready for them, they’ll probably crush you. I think the best thing about a hill though, is that after you’ve fought your way up, you get to breeze right down the other side.
I soon saw the finish line at the end of the short, but challenging route and made a sprint for the balloons which marked it. Later, after drinking water and doing some stretches, a woman read the number on my shirt, “Hey you’re Elizabeth!” she said. I nodded, unsure of what she wanted. “You won a medal! You were the first female to finish in your age group.” Delighted and surprised I thanked her and lowered my head as she placed the medal around my sweaty neck.
I never expected to place in any category, let alone first, but then again this run was all about the unexpected – making the decision to be ready for whatever comes and giving it my all. In life, no matter what course I’m on, I’ll prepare for the obstacles and hills, confront them head on, and be proud when I finish.
Know you not that they which run in a race run all, but one receives the prize?
So run that you may obtain.
1 Corinthians 9:24