We've established I'm not a runner (see 'lost in cornfield' story). But I do like to run. I like the the time it gives me to think and I like how all the jostling helps my loose marbles make some sense.
I set off for a run the other day and, as is usually the case, decided how long I would run based on my plans for the night. As I considered my route, I thought about why a runner trains. I remembered the first question people asked me after I finished Dam to Dam, "When's your next race?" Everyone assumed I had become "one of those runners" who was always looking for the next race. I thought, "Sure, I'll do it again."
But as I mentally mapped out my route (that I'd determined should take me 45 minutes max), I realized why runners sign up for races.
signing up for a race is the best accountability for training for a race
I know it's not rocket science, but it seemed pretty profound to me as the loose marbles starting making sense on Duff Avenue. The motivation for training comes from the goals for race day. Then race day happens. And then you sign up for another race. People have told me that you lose weeks of training in days and now I know it's true. A whole lot of training and accomplishment and hard work amounts to little after a few days off.
And so, of course, I think about this Christian race we're running. We stretch and train and beat our bodies into submission because we are training for something. And, I wonder if Paul felt the weight of "not having attained it" after every race he finished - every missionary journey and shipwreck and public sermon - he immediately signed up for another. His training built on training and there was never a time where he wasn't preparing because there was never a time he wasn't signed up for a race.
I wonder this because I can see the temptation after a race to wait, consider, and "rest" in a way that smacks excuses. When we finish something like a race, we feel accomplished and proud and (in some ways) as if we've arrived. When we believe it's all about us, we will fall hard and fast clinging to the comfortable title of "accomplished" that seals our fate and renders us useless.
What a beautiful thing to always have the prize in front of us, to always strain towards what is ahead, to always have something worth training for even as we cross the finish line.
Training is the best accountability for runners and you only train when you are signed up for a race. Today, I'm taking inventory. Today, I'm making sure I'm signed up.
let LOVE fly like cRaZy