The Finish Line

I did it.  This is me literally 1/4 of a mile from the finish line.  I’m high-fiving Micki.  Grace took this pic on Mick’s iPhone.  It’s pretty awesome.  So, Saturday I ran 13.1 miles.  I did it.  How do we celebrate?

First, I want to thank Micki for being so supportive of me being gone so much running.  She never, and I mean NEVER, made me feel guilty, said anything unkind, or was discouraging.  Through the entire process, she was nothing but encouraging and supportive.  That’s huge.  Thanks, baby girl.

Second, I’d like to thank Joel Miller.  Neighbor.  Doctor.  Missionary.  Father.  Christ-follower.  Friend.  Joel was the solid foundation and example to me of perseverance.  He’s steady.  Just the type of person I needed to make this happen.  Joel, thank you brother.  For more than race day.

Third, I’d like to thank the great cloud of witnesses that encouraged and supported me through this.  Friends on Facebook.  Church.  Work.  Specifically, thanks to Nathan and the original Joel.  Maust.  Thanks for helping me start.  Thanks also to Rod, Toni, Teresa, Fred, Deb, Tom, Jolene, and Matt.  You guys encouraged me in one way or another.  Props to you all too.

So, after the love fest, now what?  How did it go?  What was it like?  Well, let me tell you.  It was surprising.  Keep in mind I’ve played many movies in my mind about how the finish line would feel.  Chariots of fire stuff.  Me crawling across the finish line.  Crying.  Can’t hold my emotions in.  Other movies of me as the tough guy striding over.  All of it in slow motion with 80’s rock behind it, of course.  I’ve had this picture in my mind for years of crossing the finish line.  Gotta hit the finish line.  Finish.  Many runs, I’ve used these images in my mind’s eye to help me keep pressing on during the runs and through the pain.  However, after three days to get away from this, here’s how I’m processing through the deal.

The race was awesome.  But the real race wasn’t Saturday.  At least, that’s what I’m realizing.  Nathan was right.  The race was the journey, not the event.  The race was the previous five months.  I don’t think I got that.  Actually, I think I’m still getting that.  Why?  Because crossing the finish line felt great.  It felt great to cross it with Joel.  It felt great to see Micki and Grace cheering for me.  It felt great to accomplish this goal.  I hate to say this, but it didn’t feel as good as I thought it was going to.  I wonder if nothing would have really addressed my expectations.  Think about it.  I’ve been dreaming about one moment for a little under five years.  Anything is going to be a bit anticlimactic.  So when we did, it did feel awesome.  But not AWESOME.  Is there something wrong with me?

Now, I know we shouldn’t put too much stock in feelings, but this is a biggie.  I know I was tired.  But to me, the finish line felt like a business transaction.  It felt good.  Great.  But not as emotional.  This is what I’m thinking about the beauty of the race:

  • The beauty of the race was a ten-mile run two weeks before when Joel and I were running in drizzle and talking about how we can be better husbands and fathers.
  • The beauty of the race was running in the snow in January and hitting three miles after some hard running and not believing I could hit it.  Affirmation after from Micki and Grace.
  • The beauty was Micki and Grace riding their bikes beside me, encouraging me as I ran 7.5 miles while Joel was in Arizona.  Then Grace running the last 1/2 mile by my side.  A cool family moment.
  • The beauty was hitting goals and fist pounding/hugging Joel after hitting our goal.  Those were the best parts of the journey. Conversations about major decisions we were making.  Confessions about personal things.  Asking for advice.  Sharing our lives.  Those are the most beautiful things.

Even as I’m writing this, I can see it.  The best part of the race I think for me was the night before the race because we made it to the race.  Running it was good.  Running it was proof of what we already knew.  We could do it.  And we were going to do it together.  It was a context to affirm what we already knew.  We worked our asses off.  Paid our dues.  Invested in each other (Joel more than me).  And now it was just a few hours to prove it.

I’m going to post probably two more articles on this race.  Two different posts.  Not this same line.  But as I read over this jagged post, I think I’m going to wrap things up on this line of thought.

We often look at our journey with Jesus and look at the destination:  Heaven.  I know I do.  I still get misty when I really think about and picture the whole  “Well done my good and faithful servant” transaction at heaven’s gates.  It’s probably the phrase I long to hear most in my lifetime.  It is my destination.  But I wonder if there are some significant correlations to the run.

My journey is here.  In this moment.  Whether I choose to honor my wife today.  Whether I give my love freely to my daughter today.  Whether I spend time in communion with Jesus or not today.  Whether I take care of the poor, widows, and hungry today.  Whether I multiply myself in others or just put my time in today.  Those are the most beautiful things about the journey with Jesus.

Even suffering through loss of a loved one.  Fractured relationships.  Addiction.  Pain.  Even these are parts of the journey that get us to the destination.  It’s not all rosy.  Heck, most of the running for five months wasn’t fun.  But it was necessary.  I ran yesterday and it wasn’t easy.

I don’t know if any of this is making sense.  Apologies if it’s not.  I’m really shooting some jagged ideas into words.  A.D.D. writing.  I may still keep banging away at this idea.  Cause I think it has merit.  Also, because I can run 13.1 miles.

So  now what? Will I go back?  Stop running now that I’ve hit the goal?  I’m actually going to probably head out for a light run of 3 tonight.  Just because I can.  I don’t want to go back.  I’m already going to sign up for the race next year.  Do a better time.  Grace is already wanting to run now.  We may try a 5k.  See the correlation to our spiritual journey?

Enough on trying to sound eloquent.  It’s definitely not my gift.  What I know is the following:

  • I couldn’t run
  • A partner/mentor helped me realize I could run
  • A community encouraged me to believe I could run
  • I ran
  • I am not going to stop running

There is definitely more to come.  Comments are welcome.  |  Mini Marathon Photo Gallery

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