Thursday, September 18, 2008

My friend Aimee and me in Mexico

I appreciated the radio interview opportunity yesterday on WBCL out of Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Deanna and I have had the privilege of doing many, but this was the first in my home state (at least that I can remember).

Since Deanna and I have begun to run to try to get into shape (her trip is much shorter than mine), I have been asked many times now if I was going to participate in a marathon.

I have consistently said, "No."

I say this because I have a hyper competitive nature. If I am in a race, I do not know how to not try to win (even when my raggedy overweight body couldn't possibly). This is a mind set that began when I was much younger. Many call it a 'killer instinct.' When you participate in athletics or games, you quickly see who has it and who doesn't.

As I write this I am reminded of Paul's words, of "running the race to win" (my paraphrase). So for me to say, that I run in such a way that I think I must win, sounds reasonable...even Biblical.

Yet, what happens inside me when I compete is not attractive. It becomes emotionally charged, and I get psyched up, and I am not pleasant to be around. My whole attitude becomes, win at all costs! And I don't mean that in a scriptural way. Not that I would ever cheat or play unfair, just that I think I MUST win.

For this reason, my purposes in running are for health and well-being. I participate many times a week to build my endurance and increase my ability to go further, faster.

The interesting thing to me is how I have had to beat my 48 year old body into submission. It has whined, objected, revolted, and mutinied on me along the way. I have had to take rest days when I did not want to as my body threatened all out refusal to participate.

Now that I have fought through and past that, I can pretty much do what I want. I can go farther than I thought, and my times are consistent...even improving. No, I don't carry a stopwatch. But I do reference a clock once a week or so to see how I'm doing.

I am trying to be as non-competitive as possible.

Usually, when I see someone in front of me, I go into 'battle mode' and have to track them down and leave them behind. Yesterday, I saw a cute woman in front of me so I began to pursue her (it was my wife).

We have a preset course, and I started before her, so I was on lap 3 when she was on lap 1. Just as I began to pursue, I got stopped at an intersection by a car, then sprinklers came on in front of a business. My resolve was being tested.

The difference was, I was chasing her down to run with her, not to destroy her. It took me longer than I thought to catch her, but I did (just like 25 1/2 years ago).

I would like to think that over the years, my attitude has settled down, my competitive nature is a little more under control, and my need to 'leave people behind' has dissipated. I would like to think I am a little more Christ-like.

When Paul told us to run the race in such a way that our goal should be to win, I don't believe he meant, destroy your competitors. I believe he meant, this race is a marathon, and you won't win if you are running at a sprinters pace. You will see people sprinting, and your juices will flow to try to catch and defeat them. Lay that aside, and realize that you are in this for the long term and you cannot lay waste to sprinting competitors by chasing them at speed. You must run your own race and you will see that they cannot continue their pace, and you will catch them.

When you do, invest in them. Show them how to run a marathon in a sprinters world. They will get much more out of life, and so will you.

Old habits die hard. The temptation will always be there to compete. I found it humorous yesterday, when I saw my bride, began the chase, and got delayed. The thing that made me happy was, I was okay with it. I did not need to blow her away to try and feel better about me. I came alongside her to encourage her, and she made it farther than she would have otherwise.

I am proud of her, and I am thankful that I am learning some lessons along the way.



At 3:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I haven't logged on in awhile, but, found the time today to "catch up" a bit on your blogs. I just wanted to send a "thank you" as I was given a sense of encouragement through them.

God Bless!

Lisa Potter
Santa Cruz, CA

At 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very encouraging to read and feel the love you have for your bride. In today's world, not many marriages seem to find joy in years spent together, encouraging each other. May you and Deanna continue to live each day as newlyweds -- and with bodies that feel young through discipline and hard work (and aches and pains!).


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