Where the Race is Won

One of my friends Nathan wrote this to me Monday.  Nate was my first running partner.  The one who really helped me believe I could do this.  I remember we were running last summer and I went 6 miles.  I ran for over one hour.  It was a great day and great moment.  With Nathan, I just feel at ease.  Great conversation.  Good time together.  Nate has a jedi-mind trick type of effect on me where we can run and it doesn’t really feel like we have run that far.  Since he’s moved, we haven’t gotten together as much as I would like and we haven’t run as much together either.  He’s going to be running in northern California with his dad and brother this weekend.  I wish he was running with Joel and I.  Nate is one of the people that when I cross the finish line tomorrow, he will be one of the people who’s life is tied to mine and the moment.  I wanted to post part of an email he sent me Monday that brought me to tears.

Jason, as you approach your big day I wanted to offer a few thoughts. The race will not be run this weekend, it was run in snowy January and early spring. All the hard work has been done; it’s now just a matter of showing up and doing what you have done day in and day out. Congratulations on finishing the leg work. Watch out for the excitement of the event and a fast start. It’s extremely difficult not to run your first mile or two quickly. Nothing is more miserable in a race than overdoing it early on, it’s a long run conserve your energy. One last piece of advice, don’t do anything new. Don’t eat, drink or wear anything different than before. The last thing you want is for the gel you ate to give you the runs… or your new socks a big blister. Have a great time! Wish I could have been there. Nathan…

Now reader, know I need to head home and get packed to leave for this run.  So I don’t have time to wax eloquent on some concepts I’d like to.  One simple idea that my brother Nathan pointed out to me is something that should be central to who we are as Chrisitans as well as who we are as human beings.  The battles aren’t necessarily won on the field.  They are won behind the field.  Teams win on the field, yes.  But athletes win by training the day after the season ends.  We won’t ever reach any type of maturity in Christ unless we take care of our business in the secret place.  How many times have I failed in my journey because I show up on gameday (Sunday) without any practice or training?  Our strength comes from the Lord.  That strength is measured, honed, and demonstrated through our lives in the quiet places.

I can’t deny I’m nervous about tomorrow.  This is uncharted territory for me.  But one thing is for sure.  I’m listening to people who have gone before me and trusting them.  Believing them.  Joel Miller, Rod Mathews, Matt Hurt, Deb Varland, and my friend, Nathan Foster.  This race was won in the trenches.  Now I’m reaching beyond myself.  Where are you reaching beyond yourself in your spiritual journey?  Emotional journey?  Physical journey?  Man, it’s hard.  But it’s also a rush.  I feel alive.  Cause I’m reaching for something.  I hope I never stop.  I don’t plan to.  And people that send me messages like this and live their life in front of me authentically inspire me to keep it up.  Enjoy hitting the finish line tomorrow brother Nate.  I’ll be thinking about you as I do in Indy.

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