Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fighting the Good Fight

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. – 2 Timothy 4:7

    My career as a Drake Cross Country runner has officially come to an end. Two weeks ago, I was running the race of my life. I was on pace to smash my 8k personal best of 25:38, I had come through 5k in 15:40, only six seconds of my 5k pb on the track, I was on pace to run about 25:10. It was one of those days where everything went right. I prepared perfectly for the race, I was feeling good, and then with one kilometer to go, bam, it hit me.
    My right hamstring cramped up, but I thought I could finish the race, and did, running 25:29, good for an eight second PB. The thing I’m most proud about of that race is that I left it all out on the course. At the finish line I was spent, and couldn’t stand up for about ten minutes until some teammates finally got me up. I fought the good fight and finished the race, and was able to get every ounce of energy out of my system. I assumed that this would be a good tune-up for the conference meet, where I would be able to run even faster and help lead Drake to a to a top three finish. My mind and spirit were itching for more, but my hamstring decided that would be my last race. It would take no more. I assumed that I would be healthy and running the conference meet two weeks later, and then regionals in another month. That was it.
    Hindsight is 20/20. In the past, where I’ve either gotten injured or have not been able to perform as well as I’ve wanted, I’ve usually been able to pinpoint what went wrong. Reflecting on this season, I honestly don’t think I could have done much better. Training was absolutely fantastic, I was in the best shape of my life, and I was doing all the little things right – eating healthy, getting sufficient sleep, foam rolling my legs, icing, stretching, the whole nine yards. This time I just caught a stroke of bad luck.
    If I did not have my identity rooted in Jesus Christ, I would have been completely devastated. All of our training is geared and centered towards peaking for the Missouri Valley Conference Championships. It seemed like in one instant, all the miles and hours of hard work instantly became meaningless.
    By having my faith in Christ, I’ve been able to see so much good come out of this experience. Because I wasn’t able to travel with the team, another one of my teammates was able to run for me instead, and he was able to get his first MVC experience and help out the team! I’m joyful right now, because I know that God has used this experience to expose where and what I’m storing and putting my hope in. God has used this experience to show me that I have kept the faith! After suffering a tragic end to my cross country career, I’m able to rejoice because God and God alone is the sole source of my joy and satisfaction. He’s used this experience to test my character and show me that I have a hope that cannot and will not fail!

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. – Romans 5:2-5

I can proudly say that I've fought the good fight, gotten the most out of my talent, and kept the faith throughout my cross country career. My running is not done yet, I still have two years of indoor/outdoor track left!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fall "Break"

    I said I would be more consistent with my posting last time, but this time I really mean it! I’ll be writing once a week with general thoughts on my Drake experience. One notable period that just passed was fall break.
    Fall break typically represents a period where students can soak up some R & R after a stressful week of midterms and papers, and is often the time where many students travel home and visit their families. One thing I’ve noticed about this year’s courses compared to the previous three is that things have been slightly faster paced. This can be attributed to the new January-term that will begin each spring. Consequently, both the fall and spring semesters have been shortened by one week, confining the semesters from 16 weeks into 15. Most professors have not altered their curriculum; they’re just covering the material at a faster pace.
    I’ve also noticed how my fall “breaks” have slowly been transformed from true breaks to periods where I need to catch up on work over my four years at Drake. My freshman year, I went home and didn’t do much work, Sophomore year I hung around Drake and did a little more schoolwork (and crucial cleaning of my dorm room), last year I cranked out a few lab reports and prepared for several tests, and this year, I devoted almost all of the free time in my break towards preparing for my capstone.
    I have a larger credit load this semester (16 credits compared to the normal 12-13 I’ve taken my first three years), which has kept me very busy. This past Friday, I had to give a 25 minute presentation on some chemistry research I’ve done at Drake, as well as turn in a rough draft of my senior thesis. As of last Saturday, I had not started working on either, not out of procrastination, but because there were other deadlines and important topics of study to tackle first. Thankfully this past week I received a TON of grace, and was able to be super productive, and deliver a presentation I was very happy with. Of course right when it ended I needed to get started on a math take home test, study for a biology test and prepare a biology lab presentation. It seems it never ends, but it’s been a joy filled semester overall. It’s fun to learn and work hard when the material you’re learning interests you and will be relevant in your future career. More on that next time.