What’s Coming…

I ran a 5k yesterday.

It wasn’t my first, and it won’t be my last because I’m a runner, and even if I gripe and complain sometimes about the actually running part that comes with being a runner, it really is my escape and a loved and necessary piece of my life.

I hadn’t particularly trained well for this race.

I’ve been running about twice a week and throwing in a Tabata workout here and there, but my last two 5k distances were minutes over what I was expecting to pull in a race. So I think it’s safe to say there was some discouragement (and grumbling ;)) when I rolled out of bed yesterday morning at 6 a.m.

A friend picked me up at 6:50ish, and we headed down to the race area. She had looked at the course map, but I had decided a few days prior that I had no interest in seeing where the race was going or what hills may or may not be included. (I hate hills. With a fiery passion, perhaps.)

All I knew was that there was a finish line, one that I would be very happy to see.

And that was enough.

I pinned on bib #914, stuck the little timer-thingy (proper term, please?) on my shoelace, trotted down to the starting line with my friend, and we were good (well, ish) to go. πŸ˜‰


Here’s me before the race…and before I found out about all the hills. That’s why I’m smiling. πŸ˜‰

The first mile is typically the hardest for me, but when I heard the time shouted out at the marker, it was encouraging to know I was still going to break 30:00 if I could maintain my pace. It seemed though, as I was approaching the halfway point…and perhaps the ridiculously painful hill (One of about TWELVE…ok, ok, I’m exaggerating. I think there were four or five.) that this feeling of I-can’t-do-this-anymore began to overtake my mind, and I couldn’t shake it.

I made the decision at that moment, as I literally struggled to keep my feet moving, to do two things.

First, I started singing whatever song about being strong that I could think of. (I’d left my headphones in the car.) Steven Curtis Chapman’sΒ His Strength is Perfect,Β won that little contest. As a side note, I haven’t heard that song in probably a decade…no clue where it came from.

Perhaps I needed the truth found in those words?

His strength is perfect when our strength is gone; He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on.

At that moment, truer words had never been spoken. πŸ˜‰

And, second, I started looking around me.

Also at that moment, we were running the part that went near the river.

Confession? Even in my pain, it was pretty.

And the beauty that surrounded me pushed me through that mile and into the next, where the adrenaline finally kicked in and my strength returned. I wouldn’t say the last mile, plus the dinky little .1 added to it, was a walk (or run) in the park, but I crossed the finish line…

…the one I was beyond thrilled to see…

and there was such relief. Like, I’m-pretty-sure-there-were-tears-in-my-eyes, relief.

In the end, I was so thankful, I hadn’t known what was coming (aka: THE HILLS). Not only would I have most likely psyched myself out of trying and pushing myself completely if I had known how hard it would be, but I would have been too focused on just getting to my goal to find something beautiful along the journey.

How true is that in life?

How many times do I wish with everything in me that I knew exactly where the crazy of life was taking me?

…or that I could know how it will all turn out?

…or even simply for a promise that it will be beautiful?

I get so caught up in wanting to know what’s going to happen that I forget to focus on the gifts that come with each step along the way.

The lessons from that 5k run and the grueling 28 minutes and 58 seconds (yay for breaking 29!!!) yesterday are planted in my heart forever.

Yes, I will probably be a little more intentional about training for races in the future…

But maybe I’ll be a little more intentional about finding beauty along the way, too.



  1. Love this! I ran a 5K on Saturday too. It was the second one I’ve run this year (and ever). I beat my last time by about a minute. For those 33 minutes and 48 seconds I was a runner. I don’t feel like a runner any other time! :) I appreciate your words. I hope you’re having a great weekend.

  2. WOW !!! So proud of you girl. Just thinking about a 5K makes me sick at my stomach. I did a 1 mile about 3 years ago after knee replacement and that was not a good thing. The weeks I spent preparing for the walk/run I learned to enjoy (some what) the clarity of thought running gave me. It was in those times that I listened to praise music, sermon podcast or just quiet that I felt closest to God. Zumba has become my new exercise but I don’t get as much ‘quiet’ time doing it. Have a blessed weekend with your family.

    • Thanks, friend! It’s funny because running is the one time I don’t mind being alone…just me and my playlist of praise. :) I’m a Zumba failure…I really CAN’T dance, so I truly admire anyone who can go to a class, enjoy it, and go back for a second time. :) Hope your weekend was great!

  3. So so proud of you! I feel like I would be lucky to break 40 minutes!! :)

    • Thanks, Kristin! My first 5k time was around 43:00, and though I was disappointed, I had to tell myself it’s about building strength and speed over time. You’ll do it someday! :)

  4. Woohoo! I laughed picturing you sing that old school SCC song, but whatever works! I’ve been wanting to do a 5k soon. I hope I look as cute as you in my picture!

    • I still think it’s hilarious that the song that popped into my head was THAT one. You’re right…whatever works. πŸ˜‰ Go for the 5k…you can do it! Hope your weekend was great!

  5. well done Mel!
    You’re breakin’ records like crazy, how many times have you ran this race?
    I couldn’t imagine running for pretty much a half an hour, wow!
    Even in the things of life like running, you are inspirational!

    • You are sweet…thank you for those words. Though if you saw me actually running, I think I might look more like I’m dying than inspiring anyone. πŸ˜‰ I think that was my fifth “official” 5k…first time I’d run that one, though.

  6. Mel, I am so pleased I wandered onto your blog via FMF. And I wandered onto THAT from another blog. I enjoy your style of writing. And thank you for making me feel so welcome in your space.

Speak Your Mind