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!

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