On Being Prepared

start and finishIn honor of the annual Fort4Fitness races held in my city (a 4 mile, a 10K and a half-marathon, which take place simultaneously), I’m reblogging what I wrote the first time I watched the runners from the corner near our house:

“I really wasn’t prepared.

Five thousand people were prepared for this event, to some extent.  Obviously their preparations had varied. Some were taking it all in stride, others were in pain. Some seemed shocked, others stoic. Some kept an even pace and others limped along.

cheeringBut I was unprepared. I didn’t have to do anything. The half-marathon route included a section which went right down the cross street which is two houses from my front door.  All I had to do was walk to the corner and clap. There were others there on the opposite corner. They cheered and shouted encouragement. But at first I only clapped.

Because I was unprepared.

I had not expected the wave of emotion I felt when I saw the determined faces. When I thought about having run ten and a half miles. (I would cry harder if you told me that I had to run one mile…)  I was unprepared and so I had to walk back home and get a tissue.  After that, I clapped and wiped my eyes and clapped some more.

Some runners, ear buds in place, eyes fixed ahead, didn’t acknowledge any of us. Others smiles or waved.  A few verbally thanked us for being out there.

Straining to give birth, struggling to learn, striving to achieve…we all need encouragement, and we can all be encouragers.  We’re in the streets and on the sidelines all at once.  Sometimes we’re called to coax or coach a friend over a rocky bit of ground. At another time we may be grieving with a comrade over their spouse whose race ended too soon. Or we may find ourselves holding the hand of a runner who is near the finish line, encouraging them to finish well…

For all this, we should be prepared.  We are all needed.”



17 responses to “On Being Prepared

  1. “Iron sharpens iron”, my sister…

  2. Having experienced the encouragement of those cheering from the sidelines as I run by, I agree that in life, as in a 10K, we need to support and cheer each other on. Thanks for this. Happy Sunday!

  3. It’s ironic that you write about this today my friend. I have been praying lately to allow myself to become more open when it comes to “accepting” more human support in my life. I have struggled with trust for as long as I can remember and I really want to change that at this stage. As a Christian, I love everyone, but don’t really “like” people so much. I’m trying to prepare my heart to let more people in and what you wrote has made a difference. Thank you! 🙂

  4. Beautiful post and encouraging words! Taking a break on a long day at work an this was just what I needed!

  5. Nicely written. Whether on the sidelines or in the race we all have a job to do. Even if it’s handing water to those in need. 🙂
    As a former long-distance runner, I’ll agree that those smiling faces definitely keep one’s spirits alive.

    • Yes. “A cup of cold water to one of these little ones…” Encouragement can be so simple, can’t it? Sometimes I think we make everything too complicated. But we also tend to make everything about US, which is the worst stifler of encouraging others. Thanks for commenting, Libslayer!

  6. A great post. Many thanks for a reminder of what it is all about.

  7. What a great piece of encouragement!

  8. Ah but which of those is the operative word…encourage, one another, daily?

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