Run in the Race!

Last year my running had dwindled down because we bought a duplex then we had to fix it, and then clean and clear the other house so that we could downsize; on top of that I still had to work. I had to give up something so I cut down on my running. Every once in a while I ran a 10K, but mostly I ran a couple of miles or ran an occasional 5K.

This year, I decided to start running again. It was hard. I struggled to run a couple of miles. I felt like giving up and using the time to do other things, but I persevered. Today I ran 12 miles. It wasn’t a fast time, but my time didn’t really matter; what mattered was that I didn’t give up.

I think it’s the same way with our Christian walk. Sometimes things come up in our lives and we feel like we have to give up something so we give up church. Then we get used to staying in bed on Sunday mornings and doing other things with the time that used to be spent in going to church.

It’s hard to go back to church after being away for several months or several years, but we start by going to one worship service. Then the following week, we go to another worship service; and even though we might feel like staying at home, we have to get up and go to church.

Why go to church? We go to church because we need to be encouraged by other believers; we need to know that we are not alone in our struggles. Also, as a believer and follower of Christ, we are all a part of His body and a body cannot function if some part of it is missing—we all need each other (Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

So if you have been away from the church for a while, then my encouragement to you is to start going. Let this Sunday be the first of many Sundays to come! Remember that our Christian life is like a race— it doesn’t matter how fast you run, all that matters is that you stay in the race and that you finish!

Copyright © 2016 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Get Up and Run!

My first half marathon was a little disappointing for me because my body crashed at mile 10 and I felt I could have made a much better time, but my time in subsequent runs kept getting worse. The one I ran last month was my worst, granted I wore shoes I usually don’t wear and it was cold and rainy and I had leg cramps during the run, but it discouraged me so much.

I didn’t want to run again because I had such a horrible experience, but about a couple of weeks afterwards, I realized that I couldn’t let that last run stop me from running—I had to keep going. Now I am learning how to run all over again, starting slowly and finding the joy in running.

I thought about how our Christian walk can falter— maybe we had a bad experience with someone at church and we stopped attending worship, maybe we had the intention of reading through the Bible in a year and after a few months we stopped— anything we wanted to do to grow but the opposite happened. Sure, we can “quit” but how is that beneficial?

There’s no coincidence that running and finishing the race is often mentioned in the Bible:

The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race… in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize… So run to win… run with purpose in every step… let us strip off every weight that slows us down… And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us… those who trust in the Lord will find new strength… They will run and not grow weary…

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize… on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless… I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race…” (Ecc 9:11, 1 Cor 9:24, 26, Hebrews 12:1, Isa 40:31, Phil 3:14, Phil 2:16, 2 Tim 4:7).

The New Year is fastly approaching— get up and run!

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

The Flying Pig Half Marathon

Today I ran my second half marathon. I knew going in that there would be hills—I even heard that there was a three mile incline. I was nervous. Conquering the hills, though, was something I needed to do.

I was on the cross country team in my senior year of high school. I joined the team because I wanted to be active and that was the sport I could do that time of the year.

Before cross country, I had never run. I started with running one mile, then slowly working my way up to running 6 miles. I wasn’t a very fast runner, and my biggest achievement was placing 20th on one of our meets (I actually got a ribbon for it).

One of the worst meets I had was at our home meet. I was doing fine until I came upon a very large hill. I tried my best to run it, but I couldn’t. I cried because I was so disappointed in myself.

I felt that running the Flying Pig Half Marathon was a way of redeeming me for that disappointing run back in high school.

The half marathon started with a run over the bridge into Kentucky and back.

ImageI ran it! There was another bridge and I ran that. Then there was a small hill, and I ran that too. There were more minor hills, but I ran those.

Eventually, I faced the “king of all hills”—the hill that leads up to Eden Park. I started running this hill and I was fine for a little while but two-thirds of the way up I had to walk because I felt like I was going to pass out. Finally, I reached the top. It was so beautiful to see the river below. I started to run again. Going downhill was incredible—I sprinted.

There were more hills, all relatively smaller than the one I just climbed and I ran those. Then I came to the 12 mile mark. I was tired but it was almost over. I tried to keep my pace but I was slowing down. I was jogging now.

That felt like the longest mile, but then I saw the “Finish Swine” (aka “Finish Line”) in the distance. There was a slight incline to get there but I kept going forward and I sped up.

Image

I heard the crowd cheering and wondered what was going on. I looked to my left and saw the first marathon runner arriving. That was neat.

I crossed the “finish swine” and got my medal. I felt like crying because I was so happy.

Image

I may not have finished at the time I wanted, but I felt I accomplished a lot—I finally felt vindicated. I ran several hills and I made it to the finish line!

Image“…let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith… those who trust in the Lord will find new strength… They will run and not grow weary” (Hebrews 12:1-2, Isaiah 40:31, NLT).

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Run with a purpose

For a while now I have known about my first half marathon run in January but I did not train for it like I should have. After getting back from my vacation in late October, it was difficult for me to get back into a routine.

I should have taken my training more seriously months ago—even training during my vacation, but I kept thinking that January was so far away and that I had a lot of time to prepare for it. Now we are nearing the end of November, which means that I only have a month and a half to train.

I thought about the Scripture verses that referenced running and training:

1 Corinthians 9:25-27, “All athletes are disciplined in their training… So I run with purpose in every step… I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.”

Hebrews 12:1, “…let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”

Many times I do not take my spiritual training very seriously. I am lax in my Bible reading and prayer because I get busy with other things.

I am pressured to push myself and run now even when I don’t feel like running because I know when my race will take place, but I think I am not as serious in my spiritual training because there is no set day when Jesus will return:

“…be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him… Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (Matt 24:44, 42).

I think I have to change my mindset—I’m not just training for Christ’s return, I am currently in the race—I am being timed and I need to  finish strong.

Every waking moment is time on the spiritual track and I can’t stop or quit—I have to keep running. I now have a different understanding of Isaiah 40:28-31,

“The Lord is the everlasting God… He will not grow tired or weary… He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak… those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength… they will run and not grow weary.”

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Get back in the race!

My husband and I will be running in the “Redlegs Run” this Saturday. My goal is to run it in 30 minutes or less. Today I worked on my running speed, and I was able to run a mile in 9:46 minutes. I struggled the other two miles, but I was able to complete 3.1 miles in 29.40 minutes. I’m not sure if I will do as well in the “real” run, but I’m just happy that I am constantly improving, and I can see how I am progressing.

I thought about the Christian life and how it relates to running or training for a run; in fact, the running analogy is used several times in the Bible—Hebrews 12:1, 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, Philippians 3:14, and 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

Just as I have to push myself to increase my speed or distance, in the same way, we have to put effort into our own spiritual growth. We can’t expect to grow if we don’t read the Bible, go to worship, or study the Word.

Sometimes I have a terrible run and even though I may feel like giving up, I push forward.  I think we experience the same thing in the Christian life— sometimes our spiritual life (or even life in general) can be “dry” but we need to keep reading, praying, and studying. I think when we stop reading the Bible, studying His Word, or praying then we start losing the momentum we had gained.

When I started to run again after I had stopped running for nearly three weeks because of a pulled hamstring muscle, it was like I was training from the very beginning—running slowly and running only a short distance. Even though I was very frustrated, I kept going.

If you’ve slowly “fallen away” from worship, Bible reading, and prayer, then don’t quit—get back in the race and keep going. Remember, all that matters is that you finish the race.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Keep going

I run every other day and today is the day I have to run. I woke up thinking about a run I did when I was 17-years-old. I told my cross country coach that I was going to participate in the 2-mile MLK run in Clark Air Base and he gave me a look like, “Are you kidding me?”

A friend and her father drove us to the airbase and I stood at the starting line. The pistol went off and I was the only one standing at the line, so I started to run. The people ahead of me were passing me on their second then third lap. After a little while I heard the announcer say, “Well, that’s the end of the race.” I thought, “What should I do—should I just step off the track or keep going?” I decided to keep going (I had about a half lap to go). Then the announcer said, “Wait, there’s another runner on the track.” So as I ran closer to the finish line, I heard people clapping and the announcer encouraging me to finish.

ImageAfter the run I met my friend and her father in the bleachers and a man walked up to me asking me my name. I told him and then he asked if I was a student at Wagner (the high school on the air base). I told him that I was a student at George Dewey (the naval base). He said, “That’s too bad. I could use more people like you.” It turned out that he was the girls’ soccer coach.

While I was running today I felt like stopping after only a couple of miles— I was just struggling so much. I then thought about the Scripture verses that have encouraged me these past few years— “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken.  We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit… We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going” (2 Cor 4:8-9), and “…with God everything is possible” (Matt 19:26).

I only ran/jogged 7.55 miles (my goal for today was 8.5 miles), but I will not give up. What do you feel like giving up—your marriage… life in general? Don’t give up—keep going!

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti

Be prepared

I ran the farthest today than I had ever ran before—8.25 miles. This was not an easy feat for me— I remember when I could barely run a mile. My training had not been very consistent in the past.  I would run for a while and make some progress, but then I would slowly stop running.

It made me think about my Christian walk. I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was 19-years-old. Even though I had some periods of growth, I also had years of stagnation. Even though I had recommitted my life several years after professing Jesus, I went back to reading the Bible sporadically, praying occasionally, and going to church only on Sunday mornings.

It took a scary dream for me to realize that all those things (church services, regular Bible reading, and daily prayer) are a form of training for Christians. I need to read the Bible, pray, and go to church services on Sunday and Wednesday nights because they will help me to prepare for spiritual attacks.

The apostle Paul stresses to us, “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm” (Ephesians 6:11-13, NLT).

Just like I have to keep up with my running in order to prepare for another race, I have to keep up with the things that make me a stronger Christian so that I can be spiritually prepared for any possible attacks. What about you—are you prepared?

 

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti