“Is it wrong for me to want to be better, to get faster, and to want to win?”

I finished reading Running with Joy, by American Marathon Record Holder, Ryan Hall about a month ago. Hall caught my attention at the US Olympic Marathon Trials in 2008. At the trials held in New York City, Ryan ran away with the title. He also spent the last 50 yards praising God. He has always been open about his faith with his fans and sponsors. You can watch several of his You Tube Videos chronicling his training and see how faith is pivotal to his life.

Back in 2010, after a less than stellar year, Ryan held a press conference to announce he was parting from his long time coach and the rest of the “Mammoth Track Club”. His reason for the separation was to allow God to have more control over his training. You can imagine the critiques’ articles.

The book I mentioned earlier is a journal of Ryan’s 2010 season. In the journal he shares his training schedule, work outs, emotions and Spiritual thoughts. It is an easy read and I enjoyed it on many levels. I encourage you to pick it up and spend some time with it.

Through out the book it is obvious that Ryan longs for his running to be a joyful experience no matter what place he finishes in the race or how successful his training run felt. I enjoyed seeing a “Pro Athlete” struggle with all the doubts and emotional lows I struggle with as I train for an event. Many times, Ryan would come back from a key work out emotionally drained and disappointed because he was only running a 5:50 mile pace for ten miles instead of the 5:40 he had planed! I caught myself thinking…”Who would be disappointed with that?” I mean here is this guy, who gets paid to simply train and run (Something Ryan admits is a dream come true for himself). I kept thinking why isn’t he satisfied with what he has? Ryan struggles with this question too, through out the book!

Last night as I sat down in front of my training log for the first time in several weeks, I saw how far off my training plan I really am. A week of allergy/ cold; a week of house repairs and cleaning so we can sell the house and bad weather all add up to three weeks behind my goals. I felt myself start to get frustrated and bummed. Then God reminded me of the pages in Ryan’s book. I felt/ heard God say…”Why can’t you be satisfied with what I give you? I give you time to ride, and a body that can experience all of it!” I argue back, “You gave me this personality, the drive to be better, not to settle!” I continue, “Is it wrong for me to want to be better, to get faster, and to want to win?”

I would like to say, God gave me a clear answer to my question, however I can’t. I guess I need to figure out why I want to be better? Is it for me or for others, who am I trying to glorify? Am I in the middle of my due “Mid-Life-Crisis”? What price am I paying in other areas of my life? If God wanted me to excel in endurance sports, wouldn’t he have given me better genes? All of these questions are valid and need to be answered by me. Until then, I will not be prepared for the answers God has for me…

I think tomorrow I will leave a little early for my ride to work. Catch an extra 20 miles and discuss this further with God! I will keep you posted!

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