Monday, June 18, 2012

What Lies Beyond the Finish Line

Is the goal just making it to the finish line or is what lies beyond what counts?

For my sister, who was well-trained but held back to run with her son, it was an exhilarating, leisure eighteen mile jog through the mountain. For me, who was under-trained, it took everything I had to finish.

This was my first race in three babies. I thought I needed a goal to push myself toward in order to get back in the game. I was all too happy plopping myself on the couch with my cup of coffee in the morning and had little to no motivation to step out of that comfort zone. So, six months ago, I signed up for the Bighorn Mountain Wild and Scenic Trail Run on a whim -- and then rebelled against the training.

My sister, Sarah

However, in the last couple of months, I had to determine if I was serious about following through or if I was going to back out. But, I'm just not one to back out. And I sensed there laid a bigger goal somewhere in this for me -- yes, bigger than finishing a 30k trail run -- a greater accomplishment I was hoping for.

So, I ran my first twenty minutes about seven weeks ago and it took everything I had mentally and physically. In six training runs, over six weeks, I worked up to running eight miles, advancing a mile or two each week. It wasn't a lot, but it was enough for me to go for it and on Saturday I ran nearly eighteen miles -- twelve plus miles through the mountain and down the canyon and five miles on the never-ending road to the finish line.

About half way through, I felt ready to be done. I was soar and tired and, at times, nauseated. But I kept going. I had to in order to finish. If I had stopped to pity my weariness, I knew it would have only gotten worse, so I pushed through it; something I had not been in the practice of doing for some time. 

And I felt that amazing feeling of pushing through the hard to cross the finish line.

But if I'm going to run this race, the truth is, I'd rather be well-trained. I'd rather be trained so that I do not become weary so quickly, so that I am strong when I am climbing the hills and resilient when dodging the stumbling stones; so that my body knows better what to expect and I know how to give it what it needs.

And if I'm going to be motivated in the training, rather than rebelling against it, I have to be willing to see beyond that finish line. I have to see a greater goal and outcome for the bigger picture.

I have to recognize that this race is all a part of a process and that this one challenge will make me stronger if I simply don't give up.

And the better trained I am when it doesn't seem to count, the better able I'll be to overcome the challenges that do seem to count. 

Running through the canyon
Because it all counts, how we live this life. And our perception of the hurdles depends on our training for the prize.

The better trained we are, the smaller the challenges will appear. 

The five mile stretch to the end after the mountain

This morning, I was crazy enough to put on my running shoes and hit the pavement for a short twenty-minute run, partly to work out the soar muscles in my quads, but more so, because I had an itch -- an itch to keep going.

And that, my friends, was the greater goal for me and bigger accomplishment.

Because what I really want, more than crossing that finish line, is what lies beyond it.

Counting with Ann gifts of gratitude:

mountain top beauty
pushing through the hard
a support network to run with
hearing, "there's mommy!" as I entered the park to the finish line
soar quads to remind me of this accomplishment
the desire to keep going
daughter's ballet recital
family who pull together for one or two people
watching my husband run in from his 50k


  1. Way to go...that is awesome...and how the physical shows us spiritual lessons...we are all called to run the race...and sometimes we are called to steep climbs...whether we have prepared ourselves or not...we still have to is just easier to run when you are in shape. Great job tell the story...keep on running toward the prize:) blessings~

  2. Oh, well done. That run looks gorgeous and SO HARD. Keep pressing on, friend. Love your vision and your heart.

  3. oh! i love the pictures! I've done 3 half marathons with the men in my life. I am not a runner, so never had a running goal, just to finish. that feeling after you finish something your body didn't want you to - it's all kinds of amazing. that itch to keep going? priceless. proud of you!!

  4. Wow, Theresa. This is a big accomplishment. One you should be very proud of. Good job and thanks for sharing...and the beautiful pictures.

  5. Way to Go!!! Keep it up!! My hubby has been training since Feb. for several easy task but he loves the feeling after he is finished :) Thanks for your encouragement and kind words not only here but on my blog as well. Happy to have you as our small group leader.

  6. Congrats on finishing, Theresa! The view looks amazing, and the lessons you share from this training and experience are excellent ones. Glad you found the rewards from "pushing through the hard".

  7. What an incredible run ... and a great metaphor for the life of a person living here on Planet Earth. So very glad you've also linked with

  8. I'm not a runner, so this post impresses me. I enjoyed the beautiful pics, also! Great analogy to relate training/running to life. (Visiting from OYHT.)

  9. I always love the comparison of a race to the Christian life. It is so true, we need to be trained and ready. God does amazing things through us when we enter that race. Great post!

  10. Always would have wanted to run. I DO walk... or DID walk ... but my age and body and other small stuff keeps me from doing too much. I'm so happy for you.. and you are a significantly blessed runner.

  11. Wow, Theresa! Way to go! What an incredible run! Those views were glorious. I feel so close to Jesus, running with Him by my side -- when I get out there and do it. And I just don't get out there often. ;) I am so grateful for your sharing of your courageous journey and the incredible photos. And what a beautiful family you have, in support of one another! :) Yay, keep going!

    Love to you,


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