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, February 11, 2013

Impossible? What's that?

The Run

Saturday I ran the Mississippi River Marathon and really enjoyed it. Some people think one has to be crazy to enjoy running 26.2 miles, and maybe I am. Maybe we all are. All of us who get excited about covering the distance, that is. But what we're really crazy about is running. We all have our reasons for hitting the road, what motivates us to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Mine got me back on the run today, just two days after the race.

I didn't run yesterday, the day after the big race, but I did ride my bike 8 miles. Some might think rest is in order, and I mean the kind where you just sit on the couch and do absolutely nothing, using only the muscles it takes to work the remote control. But that's not what folks who run marathons typically think of as rest. So I had to get out and do something!

Today, two days after the 26.2 mile race, and one day after the 8 mile bike ride, I got back into my routine. At 4 AM the alarm sounded. I let the dogs out and went back to bed until it rang the second time, at 4:15. I was wide awake then so up and out of the bed I went. The 45 minute routine that precedes every morning's run went like clockwork and I was out the door at 5.

I took it slow and easy this morning, finishing the 6 mile run with an average 11:10 pace. I took about the easiest route available from the house and enjoyed the run. The first two miles were a little stiff, but the legs loosened up pretty well after that. Not a bad first post-marathon run at all.

When I think about how I felt after my first one, it's almost impossible to believe I've come so far. Not to say I'm an elite marathoner, or even an expert, but to feel this good after 26 miles is a blessing I never thought would come. When I finished my first one, the Marine Corps Marathon in 2011, I felt near death. It was so bad, I had barely made it to the family link-up area when I laid down in the street, curled up and passed out. My friend Jesse told me later he thought I might die. (I think he was really kidding about that.) It was pretty bad. But Saturday afternoon I made the 3 hour drive home after this latest race, felt good enough to get on the bike yesterday, and today made it 6 miles on my feet.

That's a long way from where I started and I have to give the credit to Jesus Christ. Without His grace and mercy, I'd have never made it.

The Message

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength" -- Philippians 4:13

The Good Lord took a lowly shepherd boy and made him king of Israel. Christ took a persecutor of Christians and made him the greatest evangelist of all time. He specializes in taking those who nobody thinks can accomplish anything and gets them to accomplish what those others think is impossible. I can't tell you how many people tell me they could never run a marathon. I tell them nothing is impossible, not when you have Jesus Christ in your corner.

My friend Rick Karampatsos, author of Heading Toward That Final Finish Line, was told twice by doctors he'd never walk again. He credits Jesus Christ for giving him the strength to have run marathons in all 50 states. Late last year, he finished 7 marathons in 7 days. (Yes. 7 marathons in 7 days.) Last year on his 67th birthday, he ran 67 miles. Next month, he's planning to do his first 100 mile road race at the Graveyard 100.

Another friend, Chris Gillespie, was terribly injured while running when a ping pong table flew from the back of a pickup truck and struck him in the back. Ten years ago he founded TEAM 413, the worlds largest ministry serving the endurance athlete community. A little over a year ago, he completed what he called the Gracerunner Challenge when he ran 413 miles in only 10 days. In January, with a bad hip that demanded major surgery, he completed the Goofy Challenge at Disney--running a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday of the same weekend. Two weeks later he went under the knife to repair his hip. On April 13 of this year, 4-13, the first TEAM 413 sponsored race, the Get There & Share Half Marathon will be held in Homewood, AL to celebrate 10 years of his ministry.

These are awesome stories of God's grace, inspirational and undeniable evidence of the power God has to enable anyone to accomplish great things in His name. So anymore, I don't believe there's anyone out there who can't accomplish something. As long as you have God in your corner, nothing is impossible.

For me, the Little Rock Half Marathon is less than 3 weeks away and the Wrightsville Beach Marathon is less than 5 weeks out. Less than a month after that is the TEAM 413 race in Alabama. I still remember when I thought running a marathon was impossible, but I am so grateful for His mercy and grace that allowed me to accomplish more than I thought I could.

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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