I ran a race recently that was way different from any others I’ve done. It was a relay and had me running on a trail that was muddy and uneven out in the middle of nowhere. Each runner had a bike escort to make sure you weren’t alone and to carry water, etc.
I knew it would require me to push myself, for several reasons. The running part was at the upper range of my mileage at that point. I ended up being a bike escort and I don’t really bike. I mean, I can ride a bike. I just don’t. I normally run on asphalt or cement with little to no incline, not an uneven path with a little give to it. I like to run first thing in the morning, and I pulled an evening timeslot for the relay.
It was hard. Like, really hard. I was tasked with biking for several miles first, and then I had to jump off and run my part. It was all I could do to put one foot in front of the other for the last few miles. At every curve in the path, I was sure that it would be done, and so many times, it just meant more miles to go. There was mud that I tried to avoid, which made my path more like a Jeffy adventure from the Family Circus cartoon. I was sore for days.
On my first run after this race, I was back to one of my normal runs. The road was flat and even. It was early morning. I was doing a shorter distance. And I felt like I was flying. Seriously, I practically felt like you would be seeing me on TV from London this summer.
And it hit me, this metaphor for life.
I won’t bore you with the details, but things have been tough for my family recently. Every time we turn around, there seems to be more bad news. It’s like we’re running on an unfamiliar path over uneven terrain. There are hills where we could really use some flat ground. When we’re sure this is the last curve and the support team will be there to greet us, it’s been just another stretch of road ahead.
We’ll just keep putting one foot in front of the other, until we’re back on flat, familiar ground.
And then, watch out. We’ll be flying.