Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Run for God, run with dog, Redux

A few months back I had a post about Run for God in which I was pretty enthusiastic about running and possibly not quite humble enough. During my second week or so, I sustained an injury or two that I had problems overcoming while continuing to run, therefore I stopped until I could heal up and start again. I watched my Run for God class move on and eventually run a 5K in the end. I was very disappointed that I didn't finish that. Nevertheless, I'm starting over with week one.

I've always said there's no way I'm going to run in the heat of summer. The other night at 7:30 PM it was 96 degrees and I ran. I'm going to let God push me this time. I'm just no good when I push myself. I was reminded of his presence this morning as I ran.

I started out just after 6 am. I made a peanut butter and sugar free jelly sandwich on double fiber wheat bread and started a brisk walk as I ate my breakfast. I recently got an iPhone and use the Nike+ app as I run, which measures my route and pace. In addition, it allows me to listen to my music playlist as I run. With my earbuds in I set out and occasionally look back to make sure my dog Zeke isn't following me. As I rounded the corner I could still see him on the porch, out of sight, out of mind.

After 5 minutes of brisk walking and some "Third Day" on the playlist, I start running: One minute running, 1.5 minutes walking, alternating between the two. At about a mile out, "Hells Bells" ends on the playlist and with the silence between songs I hear panting that isn't me and feel hot breath and slobber on the back of my leg. It seems Zeke decided to go for a run after all. I'm pretty sure he knew he had to sneak up on me for me to allow him to go. Nevertheless, halfway across the river we were so I had no option but to grind on.

Zeke is a big black Labrador Retriever. More significantly, he is just a couple months shy of 14 years old. This is a breed with a life expectancy of about 10-11years. He is OLD and we have been very seriously contemplating putting him down because he just doesn't get along well. The summer heat and the winter cold are getting really tough for him and arthritis is finally settled into his hips. Therefore, when I saw, heard and felt him behind me I thought, "Great, I'm going to *Old Yeller* this old boy, this morning, with a heart attack. However, every time I finished a run pace I would look back to check on him and every time he was still hanging in there. He did start to lag behind a bit in the end and as we got close to the house I caught him taking a short cut through the neighbors yard on the corner. What A sight the two of us must have been. After we got home Zeke seemed to be happy to lay on the concrete slab front porch and I went in to get ready for work.

As I reflect on this mornings run I am reminded of God's grace. The company of Zeke reminded me that God determines what is possible. This dog that shouldn't even be alive matched me in a 5K. With that I learn to run at God's pace. He will tell me when to slow down, stop or pick up the pace. He will determine what this old vessel is capable of and I'll come along for the ride.

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