Perseverance.  Focus.  Endurance.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, (2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.)
        Hebrews 12:1-2
20 miles revisited

By @therunningsnaz

This past weekend I was struggling to get my long run in.  I needed to do a 20-miler as I’m training for the Fargo Marathon and over the next couple of weeks I will be hitting my peak mileage.  Saturday we had a family commitment so I was only able to sneak in an easy 4 miles before it got dark and so I planned to run the 20 on Sunday.  

“On the seventh day, God rested.”  I have always struggled to do long runs on Sundays.  Obviously church is a big priority and it’s always great to socialize afterwards.  Then sometimes we go out for lunch or having something at home.  So while you wait for your food to digest, you might lay down and take it easy (and sometimes fall asleep).  That lazy feeling along with less than perfect weather (#minnesnowta) seems to wreak havoc with motivation to go and tackle 20 miles.  Sunday’s should be all about resting, right?  How about Monday?

Monday comes and it’s decision time.  Do I force a 20-miler, or skip and hope for the best next weekend?  Luckily, I had a renewed motivation to go get it done, but I had to wait until after work.  So here I go for 20 miles, on a Monday, after work...Blah!

After I completed my 20-miler, I thought about how my run is similar to our spiritual walk.  The first few miles you are not sure what to expect as your body warms up and adjusts to the pace, just like becoming a Christian.  Early on, it feels good and you feel confident, but you know something is about to hit you and you need to prepare for it.

The mid-run miles seem to go better.  Your body now is feeling good, you’ve settled into your pace and you have already covered some hard miles.  Again, such is life.  Once you have adjusted to your new found spirituality, things seem to be clicking along and you’re on top of the world.

Then it happens.  For each runner, it differs.  It’s that point where your body starts saying “this is enough” and wants to quit.  But you know you have a few more miles left and you keep pushing because you know you will be better for persevering and going the distance instead of quitting.  So I pushed through the last few miles, picking up the pace to finish strong.  Not my best effort at that distance (2:26, and I have been in the low 2:20's before), but its done.  It’s all about finishing.  

Getting the point yet?  We are all challenged and tempted.  As soon as we grow, Satan wants to knock us down.  We need to remember that if we continue to run the race as it’s marked out for us, there is a finish line at the end that cannot be explained in words, but needs to be experienced.

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