As far as I know it has rained only two times in the 13 year history of the Music City Marathon. The first time was a tornado near-miss in 2010 and the second time was this past weekend. Jennifer, my daughter-in-law, and I ran both of those. This past Saturday we stepped off the shuttle bus at 6AM and it started pouring rain at 6:05AM. The race started at 7 and for the next 5 hours we ran in a steady downpour. 26.2 miles, 5 hours, and a thousand gallons of water, by the time the race was over I was wet in places I didn’t even know existed. Soaked to the bone. Dead tired. And happy to be done.
Here are some lessons I learned from running the marathon. First, the last mile is harder than the first. Now I know that is really profound but it’s a pretty important lesson. At the start there were fans and bands and adrenalin and anticipation. At the end there were blisters and puddles and blisters and, well, blisters. Sometimes the longer we stay at a thing the more challenging it becomes. That is true of running, marriage, our Christian walk, just life in general. We start out full of hope and heroics and happiness but to stay the course, well that takes some doing. That’s why Paul says, “I beat my body into submission lest after I have preached to others I myself am disqualified from the prize.” (1 Cor. 9:27) There is something to be said for just sticking with it and finishing the race.
But here’s the second lesson. The last mile is better than the first. You know what you get after the first mile of a marathon? Nothing. No prizes. No ribbon. No certificate. You just put your head down and do it again, 25 more times. That’s why it’s so hard but that’s also why it is so good. The reward is not at the beginning of the journey, it’s at the end, across the finish line. So the same Paul that says, “I beat my body,” also says, “Forgetting those things which are behind, and straining for what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:13-14) That is true in a wonderful, fulfilling, intimate marriage; a deep, satisfying relationship with Jesus; or in running a race. When we get to the last mile we will find it was worth it all and the last mile was far better than the first.
Now for lesson number three. It’s impossible to keep your socks dry when it rains on you for 26.2 miles. No spiritual application to that but a valuable lesson that I learned anyway. Be blessed.