Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Monday, January 21, 2013

When it's good...it's God

The Run

Day 21 of Janathon and I did not want to get out this morning. I woke up on time. I didn't have to get in to work quite as early as usual. I got dressed, and then looked at the weather. 350 and a wind chill of 260.

Ugh! That meant pretty miserable wind. The 350 temps wouldn't be too bad, but the wind was going to make it miserable. So I stood here looking at the weather on the computer...I guess hoping it would take some miraculous turn. The thought crossed my mind to wait until this afternoon. I'd had some really nice (short) runs last week in the afternoon.

But today I had 6 miles planned, and I knew it was going to be tough to get those in after working all day. So, somewhat reluctantly, I geared up and stepped outside. I must be getting wimpy, or maybe just old, because I put on a jacket, a knit cap, and gloves. It wasn't long ago, 350 would have only called for a long-sleeved tech shirt and shorts. Today I wore the shorts, but bundled up otherwise.

I opened the front door and couldn't help but notice the lack of frost on the cars. Yep. That meant it was pretty windy, and it didn't take long running to see just how windy. The first mile or so I was glad I had the jacket, gloves, and cap on, but then the sweat started. It didn't matter much when I took off the cap. That just meant I had to keep wiping the sweat from my head with my gloves. Under my jacket I was drenched by mile 4. But, even with all that, this turned out to be a fantastic run.

I didn't even look at my Garmin for the first mile. When it beeped, I looked down and was shocked to see it reading 9:52. It didn't feel like it, but that was one of the best miles I've had to start a run in a really long time. The great thing was it didn't feel like I was pushing too hard.

My knees weren't hurting. My legs weren't hurting. And I wasn't really all that winded. Don't get me wrong. I didn't feel like I was out for a leisurely stroll, but it just felt like everything was kind of clicking. It just felt...right.

I decided to see if I could keep it up. I mean, it's been a dream of mine for a while now to one day finish a marathon with a 10 minute pace. So why not start working on it when I'm feeling good?

The second mile on this route is quite a bit easier than the first. So I tried to maintain the pace without looking at my watch. The Garmin beeped again and I glanced down. 9:44 for that mile. I decided to keep the same strategy in the 3rd mile, maintain the pace and not look at the watch. This part was a little tougher than the 2nd but not as bad as the 1st. When the Garmin rang out 3 miles, I'd completed it in 9:37.

Yeah. I was cold and sweaty, but the running part was going great! I just kept it up on mile 4, pretty much all flat. I don't know why, but for some reason I pushed harder on this one. Maybe it was the long, straight stretch of road that usually has the most traffic on it this time of morning. But whatever, I was breathing a lot heavier when I heard the Garmin tell me I'd finished 4 miles. 9:11!

Now I decided I was getting a little carried away and I'd better back off before I re-injured myself. I was still feeling good, but the first half or so of mile 5 was a slight incline anyway. It made it easier to back off the pace. With one mile left on my workout, my watch said the last mile was completed in 9:35. That seemed a good pace to try to finish with.

Boosted a little by the down grade for the last 100 yards, mile 6 came in at 9:33. Overall average pace, 9:35! This was the best 6 mile run I've had since coming off my knee injury last fall.

The Message

Praise God, some days are just like that! Everything clicks and it seems like the cards are stacked in our favor. They may be few and far between, but they do occur from time to time. It's those days we have to be especially vigilant and ready to work for the glory of God.

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." -- Ephesians 2:10

Days like today, when everything goes great, might be the easiest days to forget exactly what we're supposed to do. When everything's going well we like to pat ourselves on the back, in self-congratulations for working so hard to produce such results. Believe me, that was my first instinct this morning...to gloat over coming back and working hard and not giving up and on and on and on...But is that how I'm really supposed to react? Is that reaction an example of the good works that God prepared for us to do?

If that's the way we deal with such blessings, is it doing anything to bring others closer to Jesus Christ? I don't think so. These are the times we've got to lift our hands and praise Him for GIVING us such a great experience.
" 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." -- James 1:16-17

That's what I have to remember. It wasn't my effort. It wasn't my work. It wasn't my ability that gave me such a great run this morning. It was all a gift of the holy and loving God who blessed me this morning. I don't deserve a pat on the back. I don't deserve congratulations or blessings of any kind. I owe it all to Jesus Christ.

Tomorrow may be the exact opposite. Every step of my 6 mile run tomorrow morning may be exactly like today, or it may be a struggle to put one foot after another. I won't know until it gets here. But what I do know, is that today my run was blessed by God. For every step, every breath, every mile, He deserves the glory.


If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

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