Sunday, April 22, 2012

Random thoughts from a Warrior Dash!

Yesterday I ran in a Warrior Dash. This is my first race of this kind and I came away with a few Random Thoughts, so of course I'm going to share them with you!

To begin with, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. When we arrived and I watched literally hundreds of people finishing up, covered in mud, I began to question if I had lost my sanity! Fear started creeping in and it was only by looking at the smiles on those who were finishing that I found the courage to get in line for my start. Thankfully I was running with two good friends and we had promised each other we would stick together....we weren't in this for an "impressive" time, we were in it for a FUN time!

Almost immediately we started running into the "mud" - actually, I'm pretty sure it was gray glue spread out to capture unsuspecting runners. I know this because I saw quite a few shoes on the trail where the mud had sucked the shoe right off of runners' feet! The good news was I knew we could make it through because although we did see quite a few single shoes, there were no broken bodies to go with them.

The obstacles weren't one right after another - there was some space between them...sort of like the way it happens in life. That is, until we got to the very end. Then the obstacles came fast and furious - but we knew the end was just ahead and that enabled us to push on through! I have to wonder how often in life we fail to realize that the faster the obstacles come, the closer the finish actually is. It would probably make a difference in how we ran through what tries to stand in our way.

But back to our run. The first major obstacle, I have to admit, beat me. It was a wall climb where you had to use a rope and boards on the wall to make it to the top. That wall looked HUGE! My fear of heights really kicked in, but I grabbed the nearest rope and started to pull myself up. The rope was covered with mud and slicker than snot on a doorknob! I watched my friend make it to the top, but I just couldn't get a grip. I gave up and slid back down, went around the obstacle and moved on down the course. Looking back, I wish I had given it another try, but my failure didn't stop me from moving forward. It was an obstacle I just wasn't ready for - but it didn't mean I was done! More obstacles waited ahead.

Not too far ahead came the obstacle I had dreaded since I signed up for the run...the rock wall climb. I'd already failed at an obstacle I thought I was ready for so I wondered what would happen now! I was being given a second chance to face my fear. First try - failure. Second try - failed again. I just couldn't reach those hand-holds! I just had to give it at least one more try in a different spot. I didn't want to walk around another wall - I wanted to scale it! This time I made it to the top. The top! Did I mention I have a fear of heights???? Now what was I going to do!!! After much encouragement, I reached out and grabbed the fireman's pole and slid to the safety of the ground. This time, fear didn't win!

Now we were back to the course. There were climbs and crawls and jumps and mud....lots and lots of mud. You'd make your way through the mud and think you were "clear" only to hit another spot that threatened to send you into a major slide! The mud would then CLING to your shoes, weighing you down and slowing your progress. Trust me, it made running tough! It made the obstacles even tougher!  Walking on a balance beam 6 feet off the ground with mud caked shoes is NOT for the faint of heart!
Most of the obstacles weren't nearly as difficult as I had thought they would be. It just required stepping into them and continuing to move forward!

Before I knew it, we were on the final stretch. It required getting dirty - really dirty (as evidenced by my photo!) There were encouraging cheers on both sides and  we ran across the finish line as winners! As I stood there with my muddy grin with my muddy friends, all that we had gone through seemed like a distant memory; and I had to think how much like life this was. 

As we run this "race", we often can be filled with fear - not knowing what will lie ahead...but if we'll just take one step at a time and keep on moving, before we know it we will be running into the gates of glory, surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who have gone before. There will be times we encounter obstacles we just don't know how to overcome - but we move on! We will feel like the world is clinging to our shoes and making it hard to walk, much less run. We will feel in danger of slipping, but if we's just mud! Get up and move on...and when the water "hazards" appear - just use them as a chance to wash away the mud that has held on for so long.

Will I run this race again - most definitely! Next time I'll do a little better....and I'll take a few more with me, and with every step we grow stronger!

Psalm 121

A song of ascents.
 1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
   where does my help come from? 
2 My help comes from the LORD,
   the Maker of heaven and earth.
 3 He will not let your foot slip—
   he who watches over you will not slumber; 
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
   will neither slumber nor sleep.

This race was just for fun....but we are in a far greater race every day!

Hebrews 12

Discipline in a Long-Distance Race
 1-3Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!


Ross Jones said...

AWESOME! I love this! The pic is great. It makes me want to run the Warrior Dash! I like it when you said,"Fear started creeping in and it was only by looking at the smiles on those who were finishing that I found the courage to get in line for my start." I think of dying a lot. Not in a bad way but in a way where I wonder if people would be encouraged to start or finish the race based on how I finished!

Jennifer said...

Love it! Great job! You are an inspiration with your wonderful attitude and sweet smile! :)

Donna said...

Ross, I actually spend a lot of time thinking about the same thing! I want to walk out of this life inspiring others to run strong to the finish! Of course, I'm not in a hurry to leave! ;)
Jennifer - thank you so much for your encouraging words! If you see anything good in me, trust me - it's the Lord's mercy and grace!

Keetha said...

Congratulations! It sounds awesome. Several friends and a few relatives drove to Jackson Saturday to be in it - it sounds like (messy) challenging fun!