Friday, December 14, 2012


Confession: I have a very competitive spirit.

Now, as I have grown up (some), I have learned to control this spirit a bit more. I can still have fun playing games that I am not winning. I have learned to graciously accept defeat. And, I no longer explode in anger at my teammates when they are not performing at my desired capacity...or, maybe that is the reason that my chosen athletic competition is running--an individual sport. Hmmm...I will have to think on that one. But, moving on...

On December 2, I ran my third half-marathon. This was the second time I have run the Angkor Wat Half-Marathon, and I was determined to set a personal record this time. My first half-marathon was in 2009, and I completed it in a time of 1:57:00. For those of you who are not runners, this is a pretty good time. I ran 13.1 miles (21km) at an average pace of under 9 minutes/mile. As someone who had begun running less than 2 years before that race, I was quite pleased. In 2010, I ran the Angkor Wat Half-Marathon for the first time. And, I was sorely disappointed with my finishing time of 1:58:38. This is NOT a bad time, but it was disappointing to me because it was slower. Never mind that my training conditions were not ideal (tropical heat & humidity + a treadmill).
So, fast forward to 2012. I was determined that this time I was going to beat my time. I trained hard. I rose early to beat the heat. I mapped courses all over Phnom Penh because I know I run better outside than stuck on a treadmill. I ran even when the humidity was so high it felt like breathing through a wet towel. I dodged motorbikes and noodle carts. I endured the "1, 2, 1, 2" comments of bystanders noshing their breakfasts of pork and rice. And, for the most part, I enjoyed my early morning runs. But, there is something wonderful about racing, about running alongside others and passing them...

The long-awaited race day arrived, and this was the view at the starting line.
Stunning. Absolutely stunning.
This is easily one of the most beautiful (and historical) race courses I can imagine.

I shuffled up to the starting line with everyone else and started my watch as my feet hit the starting mat. And, then, I ran...and ran...and ran...

I finished the race in 1:55:40! It did not matter that my legs were shaking or that I was dripping sweat or that my feet were wrought with blisters. I raced, and it felt so good! It was such an amazing feeling to run with and past people. It was exciting to shatter my personal best time, even if others' enthusiasm was not paralleled by mine.
But, I suppose that is the story of life. We have to race on to the finish, whether others are cheering us on or not. It was only in the last 2 minutes of my race that I heard the cheers of familiar voices. The rest of the way it was just me and my own determination...and Jesus. (He and I talked a lot over those 13.1 miles.) Racing is about pushing through the pain because the joy and satisfaction at the end will be more than worth the exhaustion. That 1:55:40 represents a lot more to me than merely a fast time; it is motivation to race on!

1 comment:

  1. Way to go, sister!!!!!!! I wish I could wait at the finish line and cheer you on too <3