Monday, March 25, 2013

I'm Going To Run a Ragnar!

I have exciting news!  Next year I’m going to run a Ragnar!  What’s a Ragnar, you ask?  Oh, it’s just a 200-mile relay race from Miami to Key West, that’s all. 

200 miles???!!!  Am I crazy???!!!

Well, notice that I said it’s a relay race, so I won’t be running the whole thing.  Whew!  There are 12 runners on the team, each running three separate legs of varying lengths and difficulties.  I’ll be running a total of 12-14 miles, with the legs ranging between 2 and 7.6 miles each.  It’s February 7-8, 2014.  We’ll run all day and night and maybe day again until our last team member crosses the finish line.  Actually, the other runners join the last runner and the whole team crosses the finish line together.  I like that!    
The captain of our church’s running team mentioned this race as we were on our way to man a water station at a recent half-marathon.  He had mentioned it before but this time the talk was more serious and less than 48 hours later we were signed up and official! 

More information will come throughout this year as my training progresses.  I know I need to run faster than 13 minutes per mile, but it’s very difficult and actually unproductive to just say, “I’m going to do my next 3.1-mile run faster.”  It just doesn’t happen for me.  One day last week instead of running like I usually do I ran short sections in the cemetery by my house where I first started walking/jogging.  Each section took about a minute and then I turned around and ran back, trying to do it faster.  Each pass I shaved a few seconds off my time, but man did I feel the difference when I sped up!  Once I ran double the distance and on the return trip I did it in the same amount of time, so I have lots of work to do to get faster.  That’s okay, though.  I have more than 10 months until the race and I have a good foundation of pushing myself and listening to when God is pushing me, too. 
On my run with a few friends yesterday morning I was telling someone about the life lessons I’ve learned as a result of running, one of which is that you can go farther than you think you can.  A few minutes later God clearly spoke (not audibly) and said, "You can go faster than you think you can, too.”  There it is - God pushing me.  I know I can do this!  Actually, I just happened to catch a glimpse of my first post on this blog when I quoted a verse saying that God doesn't push us around.  Rather, He works within us, deeply and gently within us.  Of course I didn't mean He was pushing me around.  What I meant is that He is pushing me to go farther and faster than my own human mind wants to allow me to go. 

I was thinking the other day that I’ve been running for a little more than 2 years.  How did I get here?  Who is this woman I’ve become?  I like her! 
I prayed for God to give me a verse for this race and immediately Hebrews 12:1-3 came to mind.  “Since we are surrounded by such a huge cloud of witnesses to this life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress.  Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.  He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy He knew would be His afterward…Think about all He endured when sinful people did such terrible things to Him so that you don’t become weary and give up.”

I just ran this morning with friends and did 3.1 miles in 39:40.  I haven't been below 40 minutes in almost two months!  I guess that speed work I did the other day helped!  Thank You, God!