Another Lesson On Preparation

Today I ran and finished a half marathon, it wasn’t my first, but it is the first race I have run since the LA Marathon in March. I finished with my best time, but it most likely did not live up to the potential of my previous training. The excuses I fought were blaming it on running in rain, blaming the course, and blaming the other runners. However, these are nothing but excuses, and the reason I didn’t run the time I desired was due to the fact that I wasn’t prepared well enough to run the race I could have run.

For other races I have made sure to get a good mix of road running coupled with treadmill runs. This prepares your body for running on pavement. For this race I didn’t fit even a single road run into my training. I didn’t prepare my body for the rigors and pounding it would take over the 13.1 miles of steps on the pavement. For this reason, around mile marker 9, when I began a descent the muscles in my legs began to seize and I could not will them to move any faster. Not that running on the road could have prevented this sensation, but I definitely could have known what my body was telling me and adapt the way I ran to minimize the effects. Additionally, the value to a run on the road as opposed to a treadmill, because a treadmill keeps you at a constant pace, while you have to pace yourself when you are running on the road.

Another training element that was absent from the training for this race was the lack of a significantly long run. I believe my longest run in preparation for this race was 7 miles, which is only slightly more than 1/2 the total distance of the half marathon. Previously, I have run at least one 10+ mile run. This obviously prepares not only your body for the distance, but also your mind to understand the distance and helps you learn how to pace your run.

This is how I live too often. In the life of this blog, I have already talked about my procrastination, and it is significant that I thought about my lack of prep work as my first thought as I crossed the finish line and saw my time. Even though I recently saw the Lion King, I didn’t learn my lesson from the song, “Be Prepared”. I walk through too many things choosing procrastination, or ignoring them until I don’t have a choice, but to address them. In some cases this has led to undesirable circumstances, and consequences. Thankfully, my lack of preparation for this race only led to missing my time goal and some soreness in my muscles and knees. However, I hope I can learn to prepare, so that in the future I don’t have worse consequences to my poor preparation.

Intrusive Vanity

As I was running this morning I had to question my intentions. Why am I doing this? Am I doing this to lose weight so I am healthier? Am I doing this so I can be in good enough shape to run a half-marathon in December? Am I doing this because I am living out a life to which God is calling me? Or am I doing this so that I can simply be more attractive, or because of vanity?

I would be a liar if I began to say that vanity had nothing to do with it.

Certainly, there are good reasons why I am running; it does aid me in a healthier lifestyle, and my body is a gift from God, and I am called to be a good steward. The half marathon is more or less a neutral rationale, because there is also an aspect of vanity there.

While vanity was not the reason I started running, or planned to run a half marathon, the fact that vanity has crept into my desires to run bothers me greatly. This vain trap is intrusive, as it works its way into the things that are good and tarnishes them, making them less than what they once were.

I love the complements I have received about losing weight. However, my love for those comments tarnishes the fact that it is a good thing I lost weight.

This isn’t the only thing that┬ávanity┬áhas intruded upon. When I preach, when I play with my son, when I blog, when I sit and read, and the list goes on and on and on. It works its way into so many things, and it feels as if everything I care about is vulnerable to the ugly tentacles of vanity.

It may be impossible to eradicate the danger of vain thoughts, what I can do is recognize them, and prevent them from influencing my actions. I do also need to continuously review the reasons I do things, and if they have anything to do with me and my pride, I should reconsider. I need to give these up to God, and not hold onto them. This is a difficult task and certainly not one that I have mastered, but have to flexible and ready to keep working on it.

I pray that pride and vanity do not take over, but it is something that I know I have to understand better, and make sure that my focus is upon the God that loves me, and calls me into the kingdom, and that I do this for God and not myself.