Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Run YOUR Race

I did an Olympic Distance Triathlon this weekend. It was my longest distance thus far (1500 meter swim, 40K Bike and 10K Run). I predict that it will become my favorite distance. I now set my sights on the Half Ironman (or the 70.3 as it is called based on the total distance of the event in miles!). Admittedly, I have much work to do between now and June 24th. I reserve the right to pull out if I am not adequately prepared. Only time will tell.

However, I did learn a valuable lesson in this past race that I believe will help me in the Half Ironman or maybe even life in general. The lesson was about consistent focus.
What I have learned in my brief history with triathlons thus far is that no athlete finishes first in all three events. You may see strong swimmers who are not as good on the bike or run. Or maybe strong runners who are not good in the swim. But to date, I have not seen anyone win all 3 legs of the triathlon.
Therefore, I have learned that the key to doing well in a triathlon is consistency. I call this "running your own race". In fact, I have a little mantra that I repeat to stay focused during race when I start to become distracted. I simply tell myself, "I race no one. I run my own race."
You see, the tendency in any part of the race is to race to catch the person in front of you. The problem is, when you do so, you are no longer running your race…you are running their race! I have learned to know when I am at my best pace and then stick to it. On occasion I may catch the person in front of me. Other times, someone catches me. But one thing I know for sure: When I run my race, where I know my best pace and I keep it consistently, the result is always satisfying.

Hebrews 12:1-3 says, " 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. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

In this verse I see a similar lesson as to what I learned this past week. The key to running with endurance, according to the writer of Hebrews, is fixing our eyes on Jesus. It is a matter of consistent focus. In fact, he goes on to say that Jesus is our example, who, although he had many distractions, did not lose sight of His purpose and plan set before Him. He "ran His race" so to speak. Not wavering based on what others were doing around Him but intently focused on what His Father had set before Him.
I desire to live the same. To run through life with endurance. Not pulling over to park or choosing to sit and say, "I'm not running anymore." Unfortunately we see it all throughout Christiandom. Men and women who give up and choose apathy over endurance.
Therefore, I must lay aside the "extra weight" of the sin that so easily entangles me. I must fix my eyes on Jesus. I must run my race at my best pace by following the path that my Heavenly Father has set before me, fixing my eyes on Him and depending on His power to strengthen me. I pray this would be so for all those who choose to be devoted followers of Jesus.

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff Todd and super illustration from your life.