Monday, September 30, 2013

Bristol Cross

This past Saturday, September 28th, was probably the best race day I have had.  It was a beautiful morning; the sun was shining, Steele Creek park was gorgeous, and my excitement was flowing for what lied ahead.  Ever since the night before, I had this urge to just sing and dance, but I knew I needed to hold it in a little while longer.  Between the race in the morning and getting to join my church youth at our fall retreat, I was ready for a thrill.  I did a lot of praying for opportunities and a positive, unselfish attitude for whatever happened.  On the ride there on the bus, I listened to some great contemporary Christian music getting me even more pumped, shared some thoughts on Twitter, and Blogger, and read some on my phone Bible. (One of my favorite pre-race songs is Eye on It by Toby Mac)  I just had a great feeling.

The girls varsity race was at 11:10, the perfect time it seemed.  This was my favorite racing weather.  Just one of the innumerable blessings of the day.  I started on the second line behind the twins on our team.  We had a start box dead center, so we wanted the best start for everyone on the team which meant Chantal and Cherie would probably get out the fastest.  I don't usually start too well, so I was worried for a moment, but then realized--unselfish, let it go.  God will make it work how it should.  We went through our normal team chant and prayer, and I said my "Just do your best and God will do the rest" right before we took off.  Well buddy, that was my best race start.  And I kept it up!  That gun went off and I just let go.  God completely carried me through that entire race.  This is no easy course.  Rolling hills and tons of curves and tight turns are everywhere on the two-loop course.  Girls from my JV team kept telling me in their cheers that no one was even close, but I didn't know.  Rounding those last couple turns, I was so excited.  Heading toward the finish of a race is always an amazing rush of adrenaline.  Sending up prayers throughout races also keeps me going more than anything.  The finish of this race is a long stretch of gradual downhill with an uphill into the finish line.  Around the 3 mile mark, I could see that the clock said 18:00.  Holy cow I was thinking.  Pushing in that last little bit in my head I was saying "PR! PR! PR!" and I did!  The only way I was able to do that was because God wanted me to have another opportunity to share His name.  I never would have imagined running an 18:28 on a tough course like that. 

Back at the tent, I looked up from changing my shoes to find two men asking if they could interview me.  "Oh man" I thought.  This hadn't happened before, and I didn't want to sound dumb.  Then I knew that they were there because God put them there.  I said a quick prayer that He would speak through me and give me the words to say.  I answered their questions and told them how God had just blessed me with an amazing race that day.  I also talked about prayer and our whole team.  I don't really remember what all I said, but I just hope it makes a difference to someone out there!

On my cool down, I ran along a gravel path that followed the side of the lake there.  I was overwhelmed by the day, and it was only around 1:00.  I use my cool downs to reflect on my races and pray and thank God for all His blessings.  Today He had given me a pie to donate, a new PR, even more joy in my heart, and an opportunity to share about Him.  I still can't believe all that God is doing here in this world.  I feel so blessed to be a part of His plan and can't wait to see what all is ahead.

A song by MIKESCHAIR comes to my mind daily this season.  All I can do is thank You for this life I never deserve.  Wanna thank You for the grace I know I don't have to earn.  You love me, You love me, Your mercy is proof.  All I can do is say thank You.
Two girls from our varsity had to leave to go to violin lessons, but here is the rest of the team with our head coach and the first place plaque!