“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”-Proverbs 16:18
This bible verse has been weighing on my mind for the past week or so. After being so poorly for so long, and having to swallow my pride and ask for and accept help from others along the way, it seems only natural.
But it wasn’t the help that caused me to reflect on this verse. Instead, it was the fact that I was set to run my third half-marathon last weekend. Before I got sick, I’d been training well. I was working out 4 days a week, adding yoga in to improve my flexibility, and keeping my long runs at a slow steady pace. I was going to cut three minutes off of my personal best time for the distance.
And it was going to help prepare me for my first marathon, coming at the end of May.
It wasn’t just a race. It was a much needed weekend away with some girlfriends. An opportunity to relax and recharge and shop and sleep. It was a much needed break before my birthday and after Marcus had been traveling for two weeks.
So getting sick sort of sucked. I’d only gotten up to 8 miles in training (and that 8 miles was done when I first fell ill, and shouldn’t have done it). And then I had to stop everything cold turkey. No running. Heck, hardly any walking. No yoga. I was a lazy sloth. I was certain that I would not only not be able to run the half, but I wouldn’t be able to run a mile.
I proved myself right, or so I thought, when I started to run again 10 days before the race. I had a disastrous 5K race. I tried the 8 mile distance again, on a treadmill, and thought I was going to die. I had a good 5 miler one day, but couldn’t be convinced that it was anything more than a fluke. I was a mess. I was fatigued and tired and still coughing.
Everyone (EVERYONE) told me not to run the Vitality Reading Half Marathon.
And that’s when pride crept in.
No. I can do it.
With every person who told me that I couldn’t, or shouldn’t, do it, I felt frustrated. I could do it. I wanted to prove them all wrong. I wasn’t a quitter. I wasn’t a failure. I was smart. I could do it. I needed to do it.
All they wanted, really, was to keep me healthy. One friend constantly reminded me to keep my eye on the real goal, the May marathon. Let the half marathon go–it wasn’t my focus. Everyone cared.
But I was prideful.
I couldn’t see their words as words of wisdom. I saw them as discouraging. I let my pride drive me.
When we got to Reading, the girls and I did the sightseeing and the shopping and the drinking and the relaxing. It was wonderful. I tried to put my pride to the side. I could balance my desire to run the race and my desire to stay healthy, for everyone that cared about me and wanted to keep me safe.
God put my friends there with me that weekend for a reason. Specifically, my friend Julie. She woke up feeling a bit blah on race day. “We’ll run it together,” she said. “We’ll take it slow. Steady. Easy. We’ll plan to walk the water stations.”
It wasn’t my plan. My plan was to run and take it easy and to stop when I felt fatigued. But with Julie by my side, I never got fatigued. In fact, I probably ran the smartest race I’ve ever run. And I was able to do it, thanks to her. I know that I wouldn’t have been anywhere near as successful without her. She saved me from my pride.
My time was a very respectable 10 min slower than my personal best. I felt great at the finish and even now, two days later, I still feel good. I didn’t overtax my body. I played it safe. And honestly, it was probably the best race to have as I train for the marathon. It was practical, safe training for a woman whose goal is to make it across the finish line at 26.2, not to meet a time goal.
I struggled to swallow my pride. God sent me a blessing to help. I am so thankful.