It is the day of the Warrior Dash, another hot day in late June in central Kentucky. For the last six weeks, there hasn’t been a night that I have not awakened, thinking about this event. For the last three days, nothing I have eaten has been properly digested. I’d like for you to think that it’s because I’m so excited. The truth is, I’m scared.
I’m scared that I’m going to embarrass myself, embarrass my daughter and my son who are running this 3.4-mile cross-country event that includes several military-type obstacles. I’m scared that my time will be laughably slow, that there will be some obstacles I can’t complete, scared that I might not even finish the race and/or be so sore that I won’t be able to get out of bed tomorrow.
The fact that the race organizers have issued warnings about the heat today hasn’t calmed my fears much. Three consecutive doses of Imodium have helped with some of the symptoms. Susan and her friend, Heather, and Dan have all reassured me that they will not begrudge having to slow their pace to accommodate me. And, like most challenges I have faced, I have included prayer and preparation.
During my workouts, during my runs, during those semi-insomniac nights, I repeat again and again, “Lord, keep me safe. Help me to do this, please.”
It’s not an elaborate prayer but it is faith and sincerity that are key in heavenly solicitations, not the gift of gab. Perhaps it is the prayer that led me to the Imodium. At any rate, I am able to retain the scrambled eggs from breakfast and the snack-sized serving of tuna salad from lunch. And, I have downed enough PowerAde today to float a small fishing boat.
Just as we start out in the 1:45 wave of a few hundred people, a light covering of clouds moves in overhead. “Thank you, Lord,” I whisper.
One mile, two miles, three miles. Throughout the race, Dan, Susan and Heather keep offering encouragement, through the tangled tires, across the cargo nets, under the wires, over the barricades, up the walls: “You’re doing great,” “That was awesome.”
Fifty-one minutes after leaving the starting line, we crawl our way through the mud pit, keeping our heads beneath the barbed wire. Covered from chin to sole with the brown muck, we run toward the finish line. I raise clenched fists, hammer them in celebration toward the sky.
“Thank you, Lord,” I whisper.
To conquer our fears and attain our goals, is exhilaration. To do it with the support and encouragement of those we love is but little short of heaven.