Ahhhh, today's run was ridiculously awesome. I've been pretty tired this week, so I figured today's tempo run would be super hard, but the speed was totally there! Sometimes I just sit back and marvel at what God can do. Sometimes He gives the speed and sometimes He doesn't, but days like today just prove that He's totally capable of it. There's no reason I woke up with energy--I was just blessed with it. :) Thanks, Lord.
YESTERDAY's run was SO interesting, thouogh, and that's what I want to write about. It was totally one long 6-mile spiritual lesson. :)
It was a slow-run day, which I do three days a week between speed workouts. During these runs I purposely just take. it. easy. Even if I feel super amazing, I don't push it. I know my body needs these days just as much as it needs the speed workouts to get faster.
So, I started out easy and was enjoying the morning when I came up behind a guy who was just running out of his subdivision. He came out just ahead of me and was keeping a pace a little slower than me, so I was going to have to pass him. Not a big deal, but it's always tricky how to do that when it's dark and quiet. You know these people don't hear you coming, so you always try to find the best way to shuffle your feet or cough to let them know you're coming up behind them and are not intent on mugging them. :)
Anyway, so I pass him successfully and go about the run. Well, about five minutes later, I hear someone behind me. It's the same guy. He passes me up and gets about 15 feet ahead of me and then just maintains the same pace as me. hahaha! Okay, now, here's where I get honest.
At this point I'm annoyed. To me, it's just courteous to maintain a faster speed if you're going to pass. It's just like driving on the interstate. I really hate playing leap-frog for hours with cars who don't set their cruise control.
Now, inside, I'm thinking, "Okay, I'm the one who is running slower than my pace. I could totally just speed up and pass this guy and leave him in the dust." But, if I were to do that, I would violate my no-fast-running policy for the day. So, I put my head down, focus on the pavement in front of me instead of the runner who was crowding my perceived bubble of personal space. (Which can get very big in my mind when it's 5:00 a.m. and I think I own the road.) Eventually he turns around and heads home.
Okay, so I keep going, and it's going great. I'm again enjoying the morning and my unlimited personal space. Then, on my way home, I come across this fast runner girl who lives in the area. I see her maybe once every couple of weeks, but she's always booking it. And it never fails that I see her on my slow days. My pride is ALWAYS challenged by this because she's never seen me run fast. haha! Inside I'm always thinking, "Oh man. She only sees me slow! She doesn't know how much speed I have in my legs!" Why I care is totally beyond me, but it's usually a blow to the pride.
This morning, she is running on the opposite side of the road and she, of course, passes me. But then, when I'm almost at the street that I turn on to go home, I see her cross the road and head the same way. Internal Jill says, "Oh, man. Now I have to watch her pull away from me the whole way home. This stinks! I just want to run fast and show her that I'm as good as she is!"
The pride is getting ridiculous at this point. What is that? Well, it was what was in my heart, I guess. And I'm thankful that the Lord lets me see those moments so that I can confess them to Him and see more clearly. In those moments He brings the image of Christ on the cross to my mind, and I am struck by just how small and sinful I am compared to my Lord.
But this wasn't actually the ending spiritual lesson. After a little discussion on pride with the Lord, I discerned Him addressing the comparison issue. The whole deal was that if I watching the other runners, I was tempted to run THEIR pace. In reality, God was only asking me to run MY pace. He knew what I needed that day, and He had only called me to a recovery run. I wasn't to compare myself to those who were running ahead and going faster than me, perceptively "achieving" more than I was. I was to focus on HIM and not them. When I focused on THEM, I wanted to win their race, not mine.
How true of life! I have dealt with that so much in so many areas of life. It is SO easy to compare myself to others who are "ahead" of me. So easy to get wrapped up in comparing myself to others and thinking that I need to keep up with them in order to be considered good enough or to "win." Am I the only one who does that? I seriously doubt it. I think it's something we all do. It's human nature.
But God wants us to focus on Him alone and keep our hearts set on running the race He has called US to--not our neighbors.
That's what I came away with that day. "Run your race, Jill." It was a great life lesson more than just running, but it's something I can definitely use on the road, too. Maybe I'll take it down to Wichita this weekend and see what kind of race He has for me there. :) SO pumped!! :)
Ciao, friends! Have a great evening!