I recall those race experiences with vivid clarity. The nervous anticipation that only sleep and running can console. Will I make it to the end? Can I run and not stop for 13 miles? How will my body feel? Will I be able to run through the pain?
On many nights before and after races, I have dreamt about running - getting to the starting line hours after the race has started, still determined to complete what I have started; starting a race and having to stop to tie up my shoe. I remember the wondering at what those dreams might mean - what they told me about my physical running - and my life which is certainly not a sprint. My thoughts connect with one another, distant memories of these dreams joining up with more recent stories my ears have heard - of an African culture where people who are in a hurry stop to tie a knot in the leaf of a tree. To deliberately pause when they are racing against time - a tangible reminder that we need to slow down before we speed up. A reminder to hit the ground kneeling in prayer and stillness in those busiest of times.
Back at the starting line of the race, and I put music in my ears to help me focus; I remember the scripture engraved on my ipod from a dear friend which reads,
'let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us' - Hebrews 12 v 1'
an ever present reminder, as my whole body runs those miles in the physical present, of the long view of this life, preparing for the rest of the race that lies ahead that is not yet tangible.
When I started this post, I did not expect it to look like this. Perhaps this is a timely reminder to my legs that have been a little lack-lustre with running that it is good for not only my muscles, but my heart, mind and soul to keep running.