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Saturday, July 31, 2010

progress visible...

I have now run 3 - 5k races.

My first was a Turkey Trot (on Thanksgiving) last fall. My second was the Susan G. Komen 5k in Columbus in May. My third was last night (July 30) here in Caldwell, the Fireman's Festival 5k.

Each time I run a 5k... I see some progress.

About 6 weeks ago, I realized (because I synced up my running software) that I was running a lot faster than I thought I was. I was also running a lot further than my software told me that I was.

So I set some goals for the 5k that I ran last night. I wanted to run the 5k in 24 minutes... or less than 8 minute miles. Admirable goals... difficult but achievable... and something to bench my progress by. I trained hard... I fought through some difficult times (see HERE). And felt like I was ready (well rested and hydrated).

Last night, I didn't achieve those goals. However, I did run hard and strong the entire time. I felt good. I felt like I ran as hard as I could without burning myself out or hurting myself... so that's good. Plus, I ran my race. I ran a 5k in the midst of a Caldwell Cross Country Reunion weekend (no joke)... so, everyone who was anyone in Caldwell Cross Country was there last night... including their 4 time State Champion!!!!!

While I was disappointed with my time, I felt satisfied with the run.

But I noticed something... progress.

My first 5k... Turkey Trot - 28m 38s
My second 5k... Komen 5k - 27s 09s
Last night's 5k... Festival 5k - 24m 54s

Progress.

Some days it's hard to go out and run and feel like you really aren't making any progress or you really aren't getting better. Some days I go out to run and feel like a failure because I don't complete my distance or don't do it in the time that I had hoped. But the reality is that in little ways, ways that I don't see on every run, I am getting better, stronger and faster.

As I was thinking about that, there is a spiritual dimension to that as well. In my own personal discipleship, I don't always see the progress that I'm making... ways that I'm growing... temptations that I avoid rather than fall prey to... Some days I only see my failures (like when I don't read as much... when I don't pray as much... when I make mistakes or don't take advantage of opportunities God sends my way... like when I don't finish a run as fast).

But there are times... milestones... when I can look back and see the progress.

The Apostle Paul compares the spiritual life to a race in 1 Corinthians 9:25-27... " 25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."

So... the next time you feel discouraged (in your spiritual life... in your running life... in life in general), remember that it's often difficult to see the progress everyday. Only occasionally do you get a glimpse of how far you've come and the progress you've made.

Jim

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