Last weekend, I had the opportunity to travel to Little Rock Arkansas to run their half marathon. I will be honest. I have been to and run a lot of half marathons. I have no idea how many. But, it is a good number. I have worked them, ran in them, and spectated at them. I have done big races, small races, some close to home and others further away. I have done them in perfect conditions and in 40 degrees and pouring down rain.

As far as race courses go, this was a really good one. It wasn’t flat, but it wasn’t hilly like we were expecting either. The food was acceptable, bananas, chicken and rice soup, some crackers, kind of the norm. The expo was fine, the medals did not arrive on time due to a labor strike, but they did give us a fill in medal and we are supposed to get an uber awesome medal in the mail, and the shirts were ok.

The weather was, at first glance really icky, but everyone seemed to flourish in it. 35 degrees and slightly rainy produced a lot of PR’s for our group. For me, this race was too big. Generally I travel with a big group of runners from Ultramax Sports and I like to be able to be right at the finish line and hug them at the end. That is a no go on really big races like this one.

So, as far as races go, this one was not a lot different than most other races. I ended up really, really enjoying it, but it had very little to do with the race itself.

Here is the important part of this race review for me.

I did something different at this race than I have ever done before. I ran with a friend. I did not run my pace, but chose to run for him and with him. As we ran along, there was a moment when I forgot where we were. The course looked very similar to all of the road races I have run over the years and as often happens when I run, I had a moment of confusion not remembering what city I was in.

It was a 13.1 mile course through a city on the streets just like so many other races. Sure there were some great cheerleaders on the side of the road, a lot of churches in particular with some Christian music playing, which I loved, and we ran through some pretty neighborhoods. But, in reality the race itself was not special.

You know what was special? My friends.

  1. I ran with a friend who constantly gives to me. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21. This is our friendship. We give and get and it was great to give, because people give to me all the time.craig and amy finish picture

  2. I rode with these amazing friends. Let me tell you, I despise riding in the car. Despise. I will do just about anything to avoid long trips in the car. On top of that, I struggle with leaving my family behind. I don’t do it very often, and I may start doing it even less, because I am always DYING to get home. BUT these amazing people made the car ride something to look forward to. Seriously, I looked forward to laughing and chatting the whole way home.  I connected with long time friends and made new ones (BFF, you know who you are.  Lol!)  Little Rock Selfie resized

  3. Finally, I trained and raced with these amazing friends and several who are not pictured!   I love to run alone.   I do. It is a time for me to test the body God gave me, a time to test what I am made of. It is also a time when my thoughts run wild. It is like they are finally free and I get some of my best ideas, my best peace, my best comfort from God when I am running. But, none of us are designed to run alone all the time. We need others, groups, individuals, friends and acquaintances in running and in life to encourage, inspire and provide us wisdom. No man is an island. We are at our best when we understand and use the power of community.Little Rock dinner Picture resized

A couple of weeks ago, we found out that one of our really good friends passed away suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 55.  We were shocked.  He seemed healthier than ever before.  But alas, this was a gentle (maybe not so gentle) reminder that we are only given each day and what we do on each and every day matters.

When I die, it will not be the races that I have run that I want to be remembered by. It will be how I loved and served God and how I loved and served His people. It will be the people I have given to and the relationships I have fostered. Each day it is not the task at hand that matters so much as the people that I touch and touch me in the process. This is hard to remember, hard to focus on in the moment, but a truth nonetheless.

“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature, rather serve one another in love.  The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.””  Galatians 5:  13-14.

I am so very thankful for my friends.

follow my blog!