The Race

By Kay Heitsch • March 25, 2021

After watching my son Todd run in a race, I made my usual comment, "Todd, I could walk faster than those women run." Todd laughed as he knew I wasn't a runner. "Listen, Mom, I want you to put your money where your mouth is. How about you run with me next year at this race?" Without thinking, I quickly agreed to this challenge. I felt this was going to be a piece of cake!

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine what the next year would bring.

When it was almost time for this race to occur, Todd wasn't going to be running. He had died in a car accident. A few of his friends knew this "challenge" I had agreed to with Todd. They started to encourage me to run the race. I hadn't trained or anything. Quite frankly, I had almost forgotten I said I would do it.

I decided I should keep my promise to Todd and run the race. The first thing I did was go out and buy some running clothes. I might as well look good, was my thought, even though I hadn't trained at all.

The day of the race came. I felt pretty emotional, but I started off. It wasn't long before some guy started to run next to me. I wasn't in the talkin' mood, which was unusual for me because I was on the verge of tears. However, this guy was very talkative. He kept making remarks on how tired he was, and I must be tired too. The chatter went on and on. The race was over, and lo and behold, this guy's wife won! I was just happy to finish and keep my promise to Todd.

I came home, and my neighbor asked about the race. I told him what had happened and how this guy would not shut up his negative talk. My neighbor laughed and set me straight, "Kay, don't you know what this guy was doing? He thought you were the competition by the way you were dressed. He wanted his wife to win." Oh really!?!?

The following year I did train. I even bought some tapes called "Win At Sports" and listened to them daily. If this guy thought I was the competition, you could bet I was going to be the competition. His attitude in that race built a fire in me! The race was on!!

When it was time for the race, I was all dressed and ready. It was freezing cold that day, but I didn't care. I took off all my warm clothes and ran with only a sleeveless shirt and shorts on. Nothing was going to weigh me down.

The tapes I listened to talked about how to run your race. It gave ideas about staying behind and knowing when to make your move. I played the race over and over in my mind when I listened to the tapes. Now the time had come to put it into practice.

I stayed behind this guy's wife almost the whole race. I kept her in view but stayed close behind. Then I saw HIM! There her husband was on the curb and not in the race like the year before. I'll never forget his words to his wife, "Watch out; she's right behind you." Well, mister, not anymore! Those were the words I needed to hear. I ran right past her and won the race!

God knew what would motivate me to run. I found that running relieved the stress I was feeling. I would finish my practice run and fall on the grass, and cry my eyes out. God brought me comfort and stress relief through running; He knew what I needed.

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