Where’s the Finish Line?

There are some things you’d like to forget. I would never have expected my wonderful Color Rave Electric Santa Glow Run to be one of those things.

Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13,14

Rave2I signed up on November 15 after searching the web for what would be my very first ever 5K run. I wanted it to be fun and exciting, and I felt I had chosen the right race for that.  For 21 days, I faithfully walked/ran on the pavement or the treadmill basically every other day to train for it, working up from .5 miles to 3.5 miles in less than an hour. I knew I could do it when the “Big Day” arrived on December 6.

I knew I might have some surprise obstacles to face. The terrain could be difficult. They said it was basically smooth, but who knows what “basically” means. They said, they would run, rain or shine, cold or hot. Who knew but what it would be 32 degrees or lower, or it could be raining! There were unknowns that I would face, and I would face it alone as there was no companion for me once I got on that track.

I had been overwhelmingly encouraged by my family and my friends and  coaches from my group, Faithful Finish Lines. I took their tips to heart, and felt more than ready.

“There will be those faster than you, but there will be those slower than you.”

“Pace yourself. Start out slow, then increase your speed each mile. You will be passing those who started out fast.”

“Have fun.”

“You are an athlete.”

“You can do this!”

Full of enthusiasm and expectation, I arrived at 5:00 to get my T-shirt, glow gear and running number. About 100 people, give or take, were registering. (I had envisioned 1000.) My husband and I stayed under the bleachers to keep from getting wet when the rain started at about 5:30.

The Zumba started at 6:00, and by then the rain had stopped, and I moved along with the music and the leader getting warmed up for the first “race” of my life!

At 6:30, we were lined up at the starting line and were given a brief idea of how the track was laid out. I placed myself about 2/3 back, well behind the runners, but with about 1/3 of the walkers ahead of me that I might be able to pass if I tried. As instructed I would choose a “butt goal.” (For those, not in the know, in athletic circles like the one I’m in, your “butt goal” is the person ahead of you that you’re going to try to pass.) Since you need a “butt” to pass, I thought I’d have plenty to choose from being so far back. I could be the “butt” for the ones behind me.

The first part of the race was 1/2 mile around the speedway track. According to my phone app, I was comfortably going 3.6 miles when I remembered Jill saying your first mile should be the slowest, so I lowered my speed and my “butt goal” moved further ahead.

Then they led us to a large open field. After going through the “snow machine” and getting completely covered in “bubble snow,” (that was a lot of fun) we were to  follow the green glow sticks. There were to be guides to direct us.

I don’t know if that’s where the people behind me got lost, or if I made a wrong turn. All I know is, I looked back and there was only a handful of people behind me. Keep in mind, it was pitch dark, raining steadily, and I stepped in a puddle or two completely soaking my shoes and socks.

I ran a bit to catch up to those in front of me and made the turn into the “tunnel of doom” and back for another lap around the speedway track, hitting one or two more puddles.

I could now see the “finish line,” but had understood that we were to get off the track for more turns on the trail before making our final round to the Finish Line.


As I came off the track, I looked down at the app on my phone, just turning over the 2 mile mark. I smiled at seeing a text from my middle son, saying, “Pick up the pace! Go, Mom, go!” I fully intended to do that very thing for the last mile, but as I came out onto the trail, a guide motioned me toward the “snow machine” again, and as I ran through the bubbles, I realized that people were getting hot chocolate, wrapping it up, and heading toward cars. My phone app informed me I had been 2.2 miles. Two girls who had been about 1/3 of the way ahead of me were putting on their jackets, and I asked them if they had finished. They assured me they had, and I had to break it to them that it hadn’t been 3 miles. They said, “Yeah, I don’t think so either.”

The sound man was breaking down his equipment; in spite of the fact that a party had been announced for later.

My husband texted to say, “I can’t find you,” so I called to tell him I’d meet him at the hot chocolate stand. There I found my son, his girlfriend, and Larry there to greet me. Their smiling faces and hugs met me amidst my disappointment and bewilderment as to what had happened. What had gone wrong?

Was it the weather?

Was it the low turnout?

Too few volunteers to get everyone steered on the right course?

Or was the course improperly laid?

Or did I miss something?

I will never know.

Does it matter?

No, it doesn’t matter what prevented my very first ever 5K run from being the Victorious event I had envisioned. What does matter is what I will do next!

What will I do next? I will immediately schedule another event, the sooner the better! Forgetting those things that lie behind, I press on.

I think I get it. When things don’t go your way, forget it and press on. There are disappointments in life, unexpected turns in the road, no apparent guides to help you out. The crowd ahead of you is out of sight, and the crowd behind you has disappeared, but the answer is clear: Press on!

It was the strangest feeling to have that other mile in me. I knew I would have made it, but I had the strong sense of not wanting to be cheated, not wanting to miss out. I am reminded of the old saying, “He died with the music in him.” I had a mile left in me.

My life lesson? When I come to the end of each day, I want to be sure I’ve won the day by finishing my course for the day. I want to be sure I did what God wanted me to do. Did I encourage others enough, did I accomplish enough, did I please God? The course is laid out, my steps are ordered, and the Guide is available, I have my Personal Guide, the Holy Spirit. If I pay attention I won’t get lost or miss my way, or miss out on anything. I’ll end the day at the Finish Line with the joy of victory I expected, but missed out on tonight!

I can’t end the post without stating that I am so grateful for the privilege to be associated with Faithful Finish Lines. My life has been enriched, if not transformed, by Sara’s instructions and encouragement. I am thrilled to be a part of the great community of inspired and inspiring fellow Finish Liners. The experience tonight was important because I set a goal, I trained for it, I prepared for it, and I learned from it, and besides that it was, after all, a lot of fun!


My Pile of Wet Clothes
My Pile of Wet Clothes

Have you ever been disappointed in the outcome of a big event? Any life lesson you’ve learned along your path? Please tell us! And keep pressing toward the mark of what really matters, the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.


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One Response

  1. It is hard not to be disappointed with a big event if we have created larger than life expectations about that event. I always am a little let down after a big vacation. I realize that many times I enjoy the planning more than the event 🙂
    Thanks for sharing your journey in one of your life’s big events.

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