When I was in Grade 6, I loved to run the 4 by 100 race. It meant running 400 metres which was 2 times around our track at school. Although the object, according to my P.E. Teacher, was to win the race, I just wasn’t fast enough to beat the other competitors around the track. Instead, I had the mindset that slow and steady wins the race, and I was so thankful to get a “Participant” ribbon when I crossed the finish line, usually dead last.
When I was in high school, there was more pressure for me to compete and focus on winning rather than just competing. I tried different sports, but I just didn’t have the natural abilities or the competitive spirit needed to place first, second, or third on the podium. I was content being part of a team mostly cheering from the sidelines and encouraging my team mates in their pursuit of excellence on the sports field.
As an adult I have discovered a more competitive streak in me, especially when it comes to board games, and mini-golf. Just ask my son-in-law, Matt. Still, I don’t think I’m a poor sport if I lose. I just like winning better.
Over the past few months, I have been able to get back to the gym after a long hiatus. Truth be told, I’ve never really liked going to the gym. My husband loves to press weights, and I go with him to keep him company. While he’s power lifting, I walk around the indoor track at the sports complex we go to in Cochrane.
It has been a struggle to get into shape after a cancer battle, and then Covid hit and the gyms were shut down for well over a year. A lack of motivation especially hampered my return to the walking track. I am the queen of excuses, but my husband was determined to get back to the weight room once the gyms reopened, and I dutifully followed along. The first time at the track, I could barely get around the circuit two times. It was pitiful. It was also shocking. I never realized how run down my body was physically. I had been told by my doctors that recovery from surgery and cancer treatments would be a long road and could take a couple of years or more. Well, I’ve passed the two year mark, and I still have a few nagging, lasting side effects that tend to aggravate more than slow me down. Still, I was certain that once the treatments were behind me, I’d bounce back rather quickly.
I was wrong.
My second trip to the track, I was lapped by a man with a walker. I nearly burst into tears; I was so discouraged and humiliated. I barely spoke to my sweet husband that day, irrationally blaming him for my distress. It was easier to lay a guilt trip on him than face the fact that I was woefully out of shape and I lacked the desire and discipline to change.
My husband went to the gym alone the next day. I sat at home and brooded over the unfairness of life and threw a pity party for myself. Of course, what normally happens when I have those kinds of days, I cry out to God for help. Like a child, throwing a temper tantrum, I lay my requests (complaints) before God demanding His attention, and then proceed to hold my breath until He responds (gives in to my demands).
I should know better.
The patience of my Heavenly Father is overwhelming. He doesn’t scold me, or ignore me (as I deserve in this case) He leads me to Scripture and His Words leap off the page at me.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
That phrase, “going into strict training” makes me cringe.
“So what you’re telling me, Lord, laying exegesis aside, is that this getting into shape process is going to take some time and hard work.”
I can almost hear an audible, exasperated sigh from Heaven.
The next day, I reluctantly head to the gym. My husband, bless his heart, says I am walking a little faster from the car to the door of the sports complex. I resist the temptation to stick my tongue out at him. He heads towards the weight room and I head to the track. Thankfully, there are no runners or elderly men with walkers who impede my slow but steady pace around the circuit. I listen to worship music, trying to walk in time to the beat of each song. I really like “Amazing Grace” (for obvious reasons).
After I have done three laps, I feel a dewy, glow on my brow. (Polite talk for: I’ve broken out in a sweat), and my knees and ankles start to complain. Still, I chug on like the “Little Engine That Could”, and determinedly walk two more laps. It is only through sheer will power that I complete the laps, which according to my step counter is a little over two kilometres of walking. I feel like I’ve just completed the Boston Marathon!
That was two months ago, and I now walk between ten to fifteen laps and I’ve added cycling to my workout routine. I plan on adding a bit of weight training, just to keep my Sweetie company. On September 19th, I’ve signed up once again for the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope – “One Day, My Way” walk/run. Due to Covid-19 restrictions we can’t do a group event but runners/walkers must fundraise and set an individual goal that goes along with the theme: “Try Like Terry” (#TryLikeTerry). The Terry Fox Foundation has for the last 41 years, been raising money to go towards cancer research to find a cure for cancer in all its insidious forms. It is a cause that is near and dear to my heart. For those of you who do not know Terry’s story and accomplishments, I invite you to read a tribute I wrote several years ago: “Terry Fox – A Great Canadian”
I’ve been training hard for the day. I’ve got my new “2021 Terry’s Team” t-shirt, given to participants who are cancer survivors, and I have set some personal goals of how many steps I want to walk that day. The idea is to push my physical fitness boundaries a little more each day leading up to the “marathon”, and my competitive nature is starting to come into play now. I like to see the step counter count a few more steps each day to my total…
At least I’m not getting lapped anymore by seniors with walkers 🙂
I would appreciate your prayers and support if you are able to donate to the cause. Just click on the link:
Lynn Dove’s “Try Like Terry” Sponsor Page
Your stories are so encouraging and inspiring, Lynn. Thanks for writing them. I sure love reading them!
Thanks for your encouragement to me, Michaela!