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

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Sometimes you have to run in the rain...

I woke this morning to the sound of falling rain. It's still Christmas Break for us teachers, so it was late enough the sun should have been lighting the sky a little when my eyes opened. But they were still dark. I thought about rolling over and staying in bed. No plans today, so why not?

A few reasons. 1) The Louisiana Marathon is less than 3 weeks out. 2) Pretty lofty goal of 2,014 miles for 2014. 3) I signed up for Janathon yesterday.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." ~ John 16:33

With less than three weeks left before the Louisiana Marathon, it probably wouldn't hurt much to skip an easy six mile run. But it certainly wouldn't help either. However, the reason to skip that run is a lot more important and could be a lot more costly than skipping it would be. Who knows what the weather will be on January 19th in Baton Rouge? It might be raining. It might be cold. It might be hot. It might be... Who knows? None of us know. That's why skipping a training run in the last days before a marathon because of the weather could be a pretty bad thing.

If I convince myself now that running in the rain is miserable, and race day turns out rainy, that would have a terribly negative impact on my psyche. 26 miles and four to five hours on the road is a long time, and usually, somewhere over the course things turn negative. Pains, cramps, heat, cold, or any of a thousand things pop up along the way to try and convince you to quit. The last thing a marathon runner needs is for something like that to hit you before the race even starts! So that's why we train in all kinds of weather. That's why I couldn't just roll over and quit today's run before I even started. I hope we have nice weather in Baton Rouge, but I'm not counting on it.

So today was a 6 mile run in the rain. And you know what? I really enjoyed it. It really felt good.

Like so many times in life, when fear or worry over something we have to face makes us want to just sit still and hope whatever it is goes away, today's run wasn't nearly as bad as I initially thought it would be. In my experience, those life situations are just like today's run, once you choose not to let fear or worry stop you from even trying, once you get up and face whatever it is that makes you worry or makes you afraid, most of the time they turn out not quite as bad as we originally imagine. Sometimes we just have to tackle unpleasant situations, and sometimes we just have to run in the rain.
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." ~ 1 Corinthians 9:24

I wrote yesterday that my 2014 mileage goal is 2,014 miles. That's an average of 168 miles a month, 39 miles a week, and 5.51 miles per day. Today is the 2nd of January. Yes, I could have taken the day off from running and made up the miles later. But I just can't hardly wrap my mind around falling behind being a good strategy to meet that goal.

Like I said before, it's not that the mileage couldn't be made up. It probably wouldn't even be much of a physical challenge to catch up or even get ahead before the month is out. But it's a psychological thing about falling behind that makes it undesirable. It's a lot easier to quit when your pace falls short of your goal. I can't tell you how many people I've run with who realized in the middle of a race they weren't going to make their time goal and wanted to just quit. It's so much easier to keep running when you're at or ahead of your goal pace.

In a marathon, or even a half marathon, there are usually special awards for top finishers and for top finishers by gender and age group. But there are also usually medals for every finisher. These medals are the same regardless if you finish first or last or anywhere in between. Every finisher gets this "prize." But those who drop out before the finish, or DNF, don't get the "prize." So anything that works to discourage a runner, or to encourage him to quit, isn't helping him run to get the prize.

Not only was today's rainy run actually enjoyable, but it kept me ahead of the average daily miles I need to maintain to meet this year's goal of 2,014 miles. I'm still on pace, not the least bit discouraged.
"For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." ~ Matthew 12:37

Yesterday, I signed up for Janathon again. I did this last year, and debated and prayed over whether to do it again in 2014. It's a challenge to do some sort of workout every day for the month of January and blog about it every day. I enjoyed it last year, but seriously considered not participating this year.

You might have noticed the past couple of months that I haven't posted nearly as much as I did earlier in the year. It happens every year. When school starts, I get caught up in the duties of teaching and my blogging here takes a back seat. But, this blog is a large part of the ministry God has called me to. So letting other parts of life interfere is kind of like putting God off too. That's never a good thing to do.

So after much prayer and thought, I decided that signing up for Janathon would help keep me accountable to Christ and the demands of this ministry. Signing up is the same as giving my word that I will do some sort of workout and blog about it each day too. And keeping my word has always been important to me. But more importantly, keeping my word is what I'm supposed to do. If I can't be trusted to do what I say I'll do, to follow through with what I've promised to do, how can I be an effective witness for Christ?

The answer is simple. I can't. Not if people don't trust me to keep my word. So getting up and trudging through the rain also meant keeping my word today. And signing up for Janathon means you ladies and gentlemen will have plenty to read here over the next month. If you find yourself facing a less than optimal challenge, in your running or life in general. Don't be afraid to run in the rain. Most of the time, it won't be as bad as you imagine. We all face such challenges, in some way or another. Getting through them is just part of the race we run in life. If you know Jesus as your personal Savior, you'll definitely find pushing through those challenges easier than you would without Him. If you don't know Jesus, He's waiting for you to invite Him to be your Lord and Savior, and to help you run through the rain.




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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