By Bob Comeans
I finally gave in.
Last Saturday I ran in my first ever 5K road race. Well, ran, is a subjective term. Let’s just say I was putting one foot in front of another to achieve forward motion. I was able to keep this up for about forty one of the longest minutes I’ve experienced in quite a while.
This had all started about six weeks earlier at our church, Legacy Christian, when Pastor Roy Roberson started talking about “The Resurrection Run.”
Just a nice little activity to get people out into nature, exercising, and to raise a litte money for the Coweta Pregnancy Services. Not sure if it was to prevent, or promote, the before mentioned services. Never did find out, but I trust that it was all good.
My wife and I decided to sign up and start training. I picked out the “Couch to 5K” app off my phone and we got to work. Because of our conflicting schedules my lovely wife and I only got to train one afternoon together, as a couple, over the next six weeks.
The other five weeks I’d grab my little terrier mix and we’d go hit the track. My little dog weighs in at about a whopping 12 pounds. He got up to 13 pounds once and the vet told us he was overweight, so we try and help him out with that by getting him out of the house.
We’ve also tried to help this little doggie compensate for his size by naming him Thor. Now, who can’t smile when they see a dog the size of grandma’s purse going by a name like that, Thor. We’re a family of comedians and I guess he’s the punch line. Thor doesn’t mind because he knows we love him.
Out on the track, on leash, Thor is a pulling machine. He’d yank and pull with me trying to slow him down on our three mile route. If no one was around I’d take his leash off and we’d both be happier for it. I’d watch him run five or six miles to my three. Something about circles and figure eights just appeals to him I guess.
Race day Saturday morning arrived and so did the crowd. Caren looked great in her little outfit. I was a little self conscious in my new, neon green shoe strings that I’d let that young kid at the sports store sell me.
Athletes milled around until the pastor gathered everyone for a little meditation before the start of things. He talked about the resurrection of Jesus and the miracle of His rising.
All I could think was, “It’s going to take a miracle to get me across the finish line.” Pastor Roy also suggested we run as if we were headed to the tomb to see Jesus and try to imagine sharing that glory. He also said that anyone who beat him would get a, “Faster than the Pastor” sticker as a reward for that accomplishment.
After a short prayer, we were off. That pastor took off, running like a shot. The only thing I could figure was, he must have had a little more to be forgiven about, so he wanted to be first in line at the tomb. Either that, or they didn’t print up enough “Faster than the Pastor” stickers, so he had to beat most of us so no one would be disappointed.
My wife and I finished the course seperately. I beat her by ten minutes, and Pastor Roy beat me by fifteen. She talked the whole way with a girlfriend, I panted the whole way, and the pastor, well, I never saw him again until the pictures at the finish line.
We stayed and cheered all the racers as they finished.
What impressed me the most was not the fastest runners, but a friend of mine, who stopped running and fell back. He slowed to walk with a 78 year old gentleman who was struggling.
Together, they triumphantly finished, in last place.
I think I learned something right about then. This wasn’t about running. This was about relationships. Relationships with your God, your church, your family, your friends, your wife, that old man, and yes, even my doggie, Thor.
I’m going to sign up again next year. I’m going to finish last, and I hope I’m walking beside a 79 year old man, listening to his stories, and trying to get Thor to slow the heck down.