The Key

538c90_dbbf723a7a459c2119d8239f167005be.jpg_srz_344_343_75_22_0.50_1.20_0[1]This past Saturday, I ran the 2nd annual McKinney Mini Half Marathon. It was the 2nd race in the past 2 months I’ve gone it alone without any family members present. At the end of September, I was forced to carry my van key the entire 10K distance in one hand while I carried my $15 mp3 player in the other hand. I don’t have a fancy ipod or phone that I strap to my arm or carry in a waist pack. I don’t like those waist packs. I’m not sure how good I’d look sporting one of those. You know you want to look good coming across that finish line!

So the day before the Half, as I was picking up my race day packet, I saw one of these:

DSCN0766This was my answer! Yes, I could just place my key into this cute, little pouch and strap it to my shoe. I was set to go.

Now, a little about me and races….In most every race I run, I just run to finish. I mean who wins these races? However, once I won in my age group at a local 5K race a few years ago, I always run to win that one. And then with each half marathon I run, I try to beat my own time from the previous race. It’s a sickness I have. And then I did it. I won the 1st Annual McKinney Mini last November for my age group. It was not my best time, so I did not meet that goal, but is sure was fun to bring home 1st place any way. When I had a discussion about this with my doctor this summer….you know, telling him I put pressure on myself to always beat my previous time, he chuckled and said, “When we get older, we don’t get better. We should just be happy we can run the race.”

Boy, do I have a story to tell him about Saturday’s race….

There I was at the start with the key in my “Shoe Pocket” & strapped to my shoe and my mp3 player in my left hand, ready to go. I was lined up towards the front of the pack, and upon the starting gun, I took off with the group. In a matter of seconds, I looked down to see how my “Shoe Pocket” was doing, and it was flapping like a flag in the wind. I thought, “I cannot run 13.1 miles with that flapping like that. What if I lose the key out there somewhere. It’ll never be found. I’d better scoot to the side and take it off.” I quickly made my way to the side….only yards from the start, and much to my horror, the key! It was GONE! Already missing! You hear of split second decisions, and here I was faced with one. Do I go back and look for it? How will I get home? All this while hundreds of racers were blurring past me. I decided to turn and run. Someone would find the key and give it to race volunteers, right? So I actually sprinted pretty hard because now I had lost time! How can I beat my time or even get a good time if I had stopped?! The first few miles I was occupied with scenarios playing out in my imagination:

  • As soon as I cross the finish line, I’ll ask a volunteer for the lost and found.
  • If my key has not been turned in, and I cannot find it after retracing my steps and scanning the ground, I’ll ask to borrow someone’s phone. (*Who does that these days?)
  • I could walk to the soccer game the twins will be playing in a few hours. It’s only a few miles from the race site.
  • What will Dwayne say about my losing another vehicle key? (*One of our van keys has been missing for a year or so. We have to share that key. Remote entry keys are expensive to replace!)

Finally, I prayed and asked God to have someone find the key and turn it in and also to give me a peace and to stop worrying about it. The race went on, and I found it easier to run than last year. It helps when you know the course. I could picture each turn and each section of the course ahead in my mind. The last mile and a half was brutal as it was uphill. This race is advertised as flat. I don’t agree! However, I could not believe it when I saw that I could actually beat my own time! To my joy and excitement, I did! But more things were on my mind….I had to find that key!

There were several vendor tables and a few volunteer tables. Would you know on the very first table I walked up to was my lone key?! Just sitting there! Thank you to kind racer or spectator or volunteer who took the time to pick up that key and turn it in or place it on that table! Thank you, Lord!

DSCN0768Then the morning got even better. Although I did not take 1st, I did receive 2nd in my age group and 2 minutes off my personal record. I’ll take it!

I know there are lots of take aways from this event. No one was there to share in it with me, but I think that’s how God wanted it. There are some things He wants to show us, and sometimes we need to be alone with our thoughts and with Him…even in the midst of 100’s of people.

  • Over and over again the Scripture tells us to pray…do not be anxious about anything; pray about everything; and pray in the Spirit on all occasions; etc. Thank you, Lord, for reminding me again that this is the KEY to living a life with You.
  • The race was easier to me this year because I knew the course…I need to trust my Father who also “knows the course”. He made it. He engineered it.  I need to stick closely to Him and not run ahead or lag behind. I need to fill my mind with His Word so I can stay in the game and on course.
  • I had no cheering section. Over the course, I saw individuals and families out watching for their runner. I crossed the finish line, was given my finishers medal, & later, quietly collected my 2nd place plaque, got in my car (with my key!), and drove home. The world is not going to cheer me on when I take a stand for Christ or spend my time, money, and talents serving Him.
  • In a letter to the Corinthians, Paul said, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” While there is some truth to the point that “we don’t get better with age”, I know we can keep running the race set before us, and with God’s help, we can be victorious…even if we don’t get 1st place in the world’s events.
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