I set an impossible goal. My goal was to run a 5k—the entire race (as opposed to walking). For many of you, that probably sounds like easy beans, but for me, it was a stretch.
When I first set the goal, it didn’t seem impossible. I had six weeks and time to train. Check out my video to see my wistful, full of promise, and go-get-‘em approach to not quitting. I even titled the video “Warriors Don’t Stop.”
Halfway through the race, though, stopping was all I wanted to do.
Five minutes in, I realized running the entire race would not happen. My sensitivity to the weather combined with my…uh…lack of fitness did me in. I evidently have a seven degree differential within which I can comfortably run, and that somewhat depends on the humidity level. Race day was 80+ for temperature and humidity, and I couldn’t handle it.
Even with my race tunes urging me onward, I grew more and more discouraged. I knew running the whole thing would be a stretch, but I never thought I’d end up walking more than running. I disappointed myself.
On the back stretch, I considered sneaking off the trail and quitting. Forget the goal. I’d already messed it up. Silly goal. Why put myself through anymore torture?
It wasn’t just the walking that got me. I was alone…. deserted. My group was far ahead or far behind. Now, I know how races work, and I didn’t want to slow anyone down. I just wanted someone to come alongside me and push me onward.
As I’ve grown in my faith, I’ve found there is some adulting to be done in the Christian walk. God won’t do things for us we should do for ourselves. It’s not His job to cheer me up or help me put one foot in front of the other. He was not going to magically get me to the finish line.
He is gracious, though, and He gave me a boost at just the right time.
As I ran/walked the final stretch, a song popped into my ears. I’d already exhausted my playlist, since it was taking much longer to finish than I’d anticipated. And as I walked along, feeling alone, and a failure, the song “I’m Gonna Be” by Steven Curtis Chapman played. If you’re not familiar with it, the chorus goes,
“But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles
To fall down at your door.”
And I couldn’t help but smile. I thought walking was a failure, but the guy in the song wasn’t running. He was walking. The song also washed the lonely feeling away and replaced it with a reminder that God is always with us, working in the big stuff and the little.
My best friends met me on the final bend and cheered me on to the finish line. And by friends, I mean God sending a song at just the right time and my husband who found me and ran beside me for the final bit.
God taught me a lot in those 3.1 miles. We can (and probably should) set big goals. Failure is good. It’s the putty in our hands as we discover, thrive, and grow. And the more we stretch ourselves, the more we will have to step up and do the work ourselves, because we can.
I ended 7th in my age group, but I’m just glad I finished. I set a goal, failed, but still came out the winner.
How about you? What impossible goal is it time to set?