Running The Race, Literally

Last Sunday was my second time to join a 5-kilometer run. And it was my first time to take it seriously. We ran around the SM Mall of Asia grounds and their surrounding major thoroughfares. The actual distance was 5.18 kilometers, though. My official time was 36 minutes and 55 seconds. Not bad, I guess…

I hope this post will not result into something short of becoming an allegorical preaching. Taking the Run United Leg 3 seriously made me appreciate the Apostle Paul’s illustration to the Corinthian Church:

24 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. 25 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. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 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

for a similar post on the same passage, click here

I knew in my mind that I could easily finish the 5-kilometer distance – by walking, that is. But to jog from start to finish (or yeah, taking short walks in-between, or stopping to get fluids) would be a much harder task. My practice jogging in UP never got past 1.5 kilometers of straight jogging without stopping to catch my breath. I can barely believe my friend’s advice when she told me I’d learn to love running. At the very least, I could tolerate it now…

Now then. back to my point. I’d like to share some of the reflections I’ve had before, during, and after the activity, related as much as possible to the passage.

  • Wag ka masyado yumuko.” I was so preoccupied with watching my feet, I didn’t realize it was better to look straight ahead: for one, you could evade an incoming collision. Secondly, you could see where you’re going, if you’re still in the right direction. You will most likely run aimlessly if you don’t look at where you’re going. Whether in an actual race or in our spiritual lives, focus and direction are always important. Madaling malihis ng landas.
  • Running with companions is better than running alone. I think part of the reason why I sucked during my ‘training’ was because there weren’t really a lot of people alongside you. However, when there are more that three thousand people running with you towards the same goal, you feel both competitive and encouraged. “If they can do it, the I can, too.” Nakakahiya rin na mag-bagal kasi bigla mo na lang mararamdaman ang madla na nag-oovertake sa iyo. Whether it be out of a  spirit of friendly competition or outright support, it encourages me to emulate the strong points in the lives of other believers. They also serve as maturity markers for me to fare where I am in my journey towards Christ-likeness.
  • Refreshments. Every now and then, we need to be refreshed. These “times of refreshing” may come in the form of spiritual retreats, or simply times of silence and contemplation. One of my friends said that some people drink only some of the water from the cups at the water stations – the rest they pour over their heads. And so I tried it. It worked. To run without resting is suicide. Yet to rest too often will leave you behind.
  • Pushing yourself to the limits. My head already felt light during the last kilometer of the run. I wanted to stop, or just walk until the finish line. Yet even during my training, the phrase “run as to win the prize” kept playing in my head. And so, i risked the possibility of collapsing, just gave everything for the final kilometer, more so as the finish line came within sights. “To beat one’s body and make it your slave” means to go beyond what you think you can do.

So, ano pang hinihintay ‘nyo, takbo na!

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