Lynchburg, like Rome, is known as the "City of Seven Hills." That's why the hills are so difficult at the annual running of the Virginia 10 Miler. Here's an elevation map produced by one of Virginia's best cartographers (me):
One almost needs an ice pick and crampons. Remember: This course is an out and back, which means that you go from left to right on this map, turn around, and then run the course backwards. The most obvious feature of the race is the fact that it's all downhill at the start. However, what goes down must go up, and everyone dreads having to run uphill for the last mile of the race.
When the race starts, everyone is happy and cheerful.
I, in particular, was watching my steps.
I didn't want to run too hard since I was coming off a chest cold. God has blessed me with a good set of bellows and I plan to keep it that way. Here we are a couple of miles into the race.
We're still going strong. Remember: We're still going downhill. Besides, there were over 1,000 enthusiastic volunteers along the course to cheer us on.
As far as I am concerned, these are the real heroes of the day, not the Kenyans and Ethiopians who came in first.
I finished the race a full 7 minutes under the goal pace I had set for myself, so that was a pleasant surprise. Incidentally, sometimes Airbnb comes up with real winners, like this 1752 farmhouse I stayed in near Rustburg. Country living at its best yet only a 12 minute drive from Lynchburg. Sweet.
In short, one of the things that draws me to races is that it is chosen suffering. Even when I was plodding up Mount Everest at the end of the race, one thought kept me going: I chose this! Nobody makes you run. It is your choice. Friend, if something in your life is worth doing, do it now. Don't wait. No one knows what tomorrow will bring except the Lord. Live your life to the fullest each and every day. Try to live in such a way that you won't have to look back (too often) with regrets, thinking about all the things you were going to do but never got around to. At 71, if there is a goal I want to achieve, I want to start working towards it now. I want to nurture those relationships in my life that are important to me and let the rest go. I want to be an encouragement and support to others. Most of all, I want to love and serve my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And I want to do it NOW.
Overall, I had a great morning and a reminder that
- Not listening to your body is for idiots.
- I don't have to put pressure on myself.
- Not every race is easy. In fact, none are!
- Always say thank you to the volunteers.
- I love Virginia.
Thank you for reading,