Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This is Not a Post About Halloween

This is about running...or is it?

This is about my teammates. A battle is waiting for us. We can call it the last race of the season, but we all hope it is not.

Something big is at stake. We want to race again, we want to fly across the country and run next to the fastest girls in the nation. We want this. But do we really want this?

What do we really want?

I know what I want.

But first, I need to accept my failure. I need to embrace the idea that no, I will not race well. I will not walk away from that course satisfied. I need to come to terms with this fear, let it burn in my stomach, ache in my heart.

Teammates, we cannot shove our fear of failure somewhere deep down inside of us, and not expect it to roar up like an ugly monster in the last 800 meters of the race.

Accept the fear.

You will fail.

How does that settle inside of you?

We have done nothing but try to pump ourselves up and fill ourselves with positive thoughts. We have trained since the beginning of June. We have lifted two or three times each and every week, we have done workout after workout after workout. From an outside perspective, we have done everything necessary. Yet, regardless, deep within, we find the anxiety. It's waiting for us. It's trying to latch on.

You do not have it in you. You will not finish well.

Teammates, I dare you to say those words out loud. I dare you to let them into your conscious stream of thought. What does it leave you with?

They are a bitter taste in my mouth.

Yet, you cannot move on from here until you face your greatest fears. Because the reality is...

...this is not about you.

When you forget about yourself, you forget the fear within you. You forget about the twisted way your mind can slow you down. You cannot run for yourself. You must not think about yourself at all because your "self" in the race is not longer relevant. We all know coach's familiar phrase, "Run for God, run for your teammates." I believe this phrase goes far deeper than we realize.

When we stop worrying about ourselves, how we feel, our fear of failure, the dread of the unknown, we are free. Our mind begins to wrap around the race in a completely coherent, focused way. We stay in the race, our minds are capable of reaching forward, seeing the next girl ahead of us, and chasing after her. We don't falter and debate whether we have it in us. We have forgotten about us, we're just running.

We run.


Do you doubt this? Are you wondering how it is possible to run without thinking of yourself? Of course you must think of yourself, it's impossible not to. I would argue that it is possible. You can think only of the race, and pushing your body forward.

This is my hope for us all. A race is never easy. A race should never be easy. Yet, when you sacrifice yourself, forget about your comfort, and think only of the simple act of running, of moving forward--faster, never slower--you cannot be met by failure at the end.

Even if your final time wouldn't reflect it, at the end of the race, when you know that you did not run for yourself, that you sacrificed your comfort, left behind your fear, how can you walk away disappointed? How can you not be satisfied with the glory you surrendered to God? This is biblical stuff, teammates. Running a race is not a joke.

Run for yourself and you will inevitably fail.

Abandon yourself and in the end, you will find victory.

Do not run aimlessly.

It is about running...or is it?


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