Back in the days of one flavor of Gatorade, I was a high school and college athlete. Those were the days when orange Gatorade was the greatest thing out there, trainers at high school sports were non existent, college coaches wrote hand written letters to recruits, and we wore really cool polyester sweat pants to practice.
Yep I played soccer and ran track back in those days. Actually for my elementary years I was the only girl in the boys soccer league. Yep that was the 70’s before the days of Title IX. I remember the thrill of getting to play on my first all girls soccer team in 9th grade!
But my main sport back in the day was track. I ran the 100, 200 and 400 (ok back in the day it was the 100, 220, and 440). And the race I remember the most was the grueling 400. It was a sprint, one lap around the track. But honestly how can you sprint one lap? So you had to train and come up with a strategy on how to attack that race. Go out hard, stride the back stretch, keep good form, and finish strong coming out of the last turn. It was the finish strong part that was the hardest. How can you finish strong when your legs felt like jello!
The biggest part to finishing strong was training hard. Running 100 and 200s to work on speed and running 450’s and 600’s to work on that endurance piece. I remember training so hard at times that I actually threw up once after a race and once during practice.
But the thing I keep thinking about lately is in order to finish well, I had to train hard.
And train hard, and work hard……it wasn’t easy at times (um, remember the puking after practice!). There were many times I didn’t feel like going to practice or running that 6th 200 of practice or 4 400’s then a break then 4 more. I was dying out there…..but I kept pressing on, I kept working hard.
Over the years I qualified for the state track meet several times and I still vividly remember the finish line at that meet. I remember coming out of that last turn with my eyes squarely focused on THAT finish line. It was at that moment with my eyes focused on the finish line, I would find out if all my hard work paid off….did I finish well?!?!
I am drawn to the memory of that finish line a lot lately.
I am drawn to the memory of working hard to finish well
I am drawn to the memory of how hard it was at times, how I didn’t feel like working hard some days!
I am reminded about being weary and tired yet continuing to press on.
I am reminded of this bible verse, that I memorized in college shortly after I stopped running after tearing my ACL.
New International Version (NIV)
12 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.
I am not going to lie, it’s been a rough year! A rough school year for this tired teacher, a long winter, and a year filled with many unexpected challenges and frustrations, along with Curt’s ongoing digression with Alzheimer’s. Just this week, Curt asked me if I had a boyfriend? He had no idea we were married. He wants to “go home” at night, and gets so mad at me when I don’t take him home. It’s hard.
But…….I am running the race, working hard, training hard and persevering. I am fixing my eyes on Jesus.
And my eyes are fixed on the finish line, because when all is said and done, how we run this race for Jesus is all that really matters. The race may be hard, but may we all finish well!