Humbled but Resolved | Completing the Course
Just as life is often unpredictable, my 62 mile race in in Greenfield, New Hampshire did not go as I’d planned. Confident that I had adequately prepared for this event, I knew I could easily cover that distance with my current training regimen and knew that I had eaten the proper meals and psyched myself mentally. I went into this race with a clear mind, a positive attitude and the assurance that I had literally covered all of the groundwork necessary to complete this course.
Arriving at Greenfield State Park and viewing the varied terrain of the “track” was an eye-opening experience. I knew I was in trouble when I saw a sign for “Crotched Mountain Ski Resort” literally a few hundred yards from where the race started. I simply hadn’t taken into consideration that the trail would wind around mountainous peaks and valleys and I would literally be hopping over stones, creeks, logs and other natural debris. While I’d trained in the worst conditions Louisiana has to offer (running in the peak of the day in extreme heat and humidity), the topography here is generally flat with the exception of minimal elevations such as small hills. There’s no real way to replicate the type of landscape here to mimic the conditions of that environment.
As with every race, I began the first mile with a combination of nervousness and determination. Keeping that positive outlook quickly became futile as I had to make quick turns around corners, hop over logs, stones, and creeks, and run uphill more often than not. I watched as other runners around me struggled with this cross country track as well, and I began to realize that I was completely out of my element. While I was aware that this treacherous terrain was taking its toll on the other runners (leading me to believe that the event information could have explained the conditions better), my muscles began cramping and my spirit became weary. I knew that my training and preparation were inadequate to beat this tough and completely unfamiliar course.
It was right around mile 40 that I made the decision to drop out of the race. My legs literally couldn’t bend at the knee anymore as my muscles became rigid and stiff. Feeling defeated, my family greeted me with hugs and positive words of encouragement and reassurance. This was the first time that I could remember having to quit something. I was ashamed and depressed. I couldn’t remember the last time I had quit something. Since then I realized something. I realized that I had grown prideful in my running, training and competing. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.’” (James 4:6). I know now that this experience was meant to humble me and force me to recognize just how infallible and lacking we really are.
This does not mean that I have given up – by no means. This experience has also taught me another biblical characteristic: perseverance. “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4. My hope is that I will persevere in my next 62 mile race which is in two weeks.