Yesterday my husband and I ran a 5K—it was to benefit the local food bank. I was a little worried about it since I hadn’t ran this whole week— I was swamped with work (told a week or so ago to have 14 slide presentations completed before I leave for vacation, plus I had two courses I had to manage. I stayed up late almost every night to complete the work). All I could do was try my best.
I had little hope that I would exceed my time from the last 5K (31:12). I chose the fastest song I had and I played it repeatedly during the run. I remember feeling my lungs starting to burn and my legs began to feel heavy. People ran past me—an old man, a 9-year-old girl, an old woman, a guy with a stroller, and then a woman with a small dog. I felt so pathetic. I had no idea how fast (or slow) I was going, but I just kept going.
I tried to remember the mistakes I did in my last run so that I wouldn’t do them again— I tried to use my abdominal muscles to pick up my legs, I kept my back straight, and I ran fast down the hills to make up for the time it took to “run” up the hills. Instead of focusing on how tired I was getting, I thought about my form and what I could do to improve it.
Finally, I came to the 3-mile point—the point where everyone “gives it their all,” but the problem was that I had already given it “my all” that whole time. As I got closer to the finish line, though, and I saw the time on the clock, I told myself that I needed to go faster— every second counts. I didn’t know my exact time when I actually crossed the finish line, but afterwards I saw my time— 29:30— my personal best.
This morning I realized that I was only 31 seconds away from clocking in at 28 minutes and some seconds.
There is always room for improvement. Even as a Christian, we never get to the point where we can say that we’ve “made it”— “Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain… for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God” (Revelations 3:2, NASB); “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit…” (Romans 12:11, ESV). There is always something about our way of thinking or doing that can be changed, and there is always something about God that we can discover. Keep improving!