Run the Race

I am on my second pair of running shoes.

When we arrived in Croatia, our mentality was that if people invited us to an event or a get-together, we would go to it. So I was invited to something I was afraid to do back home: run in a 5k. I don’t know why it brought me so much fear. Maybe it was the idea of not finishing and that running, in general, is a hard task for me. So I bought my first pair of running shoes, along with headphones and a fanny pack.

My new friends encouraged me and said, “Make sure to train.” My first thought was, Where? The terrain here was not the flat grounds of Florida. It was the mountainside of Dubrovnik. My first practice run around the block felt like I had no lungs left, and I was about to see my breakfast for a second time. My knees were yelling at me, “Why would you do this to us?”

Nonetheless, I continued to practice in the only locations I could. I would run uphill and downhill. A block turned into two and eventually a slow but moderate 5k.

On the day of my run, I constantly told myself, “Don’t stop. Don’t stop,” despite rain, lightning, and a small but persistent pain. I finished 92nd out of 150 people, which was not too bad. I was so excited when I finished that I made a video about it. The running association president personally thanked me for promoting his organization and offered me free registration for all my runs. Now I am on my fourth 5k. I am consistently running at least twice a week — uphill — with an energy I have never had before.

Coming to Croatia with my family, I prayed, “God give us strength, but please also give us endurance to finish this race.” So far, so good.

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