It was lap 2 of 4, the 1600 meters, my first high school track-and-field race. I was “trotting” around the track, counting down the laps til I crossed the finish line for the last time, when I glanced down at my feet.
My shoe was untied.
That’s when I heard the shouts of my teammates, coach, and strangers. “Your shoe! Your shoe is untied!”
I remember shrugging and praying for the best.
I finished the race without a catastrophic wipeout (or a wipeout at all).
But I’ll never forget my first 1600 and the trial that accompanied it.
I first started sports in middle school. I played soccer 6th through 8th grade and basketball 6th through 9th. In soccer, my 6th grade coach would make us run around the field for 20 minutes straight. I thought it was torture (little did I know…).
I enjoyed sports – the physical challenge and the connections with teammates. But in 10th and 11th grade, for a number of reasons, I decided to stop sports and try some different activities.
My senior year of high school, things changed again. I decided I wanted to run track.
It had always intrigued me. I remember telling my friends about my interest in joining the team. Many of them expressed the sentiment I have yet to stop hearing: “Won’t it be boring just to run?”
I don’t think running is boring.
I think it’s hard. Exhausting. Time-consuming. But never boring.
(Okay, one exception: the treadmill. The treadmill is boring.)
So my senior year of high school, with no prior experience aside from other sports, I joined the track-and-field team.
I wasn’t very good, mind you. I ran the 1600, the 800, and the 400 relay. I made lots of personal records, but never placed that well in a pack.
But I fell in love with it. I caught the running bug.
That season of track-and-field inspired me to run cross country my freshman year at Lancaster Bible College.
Running changed me…for the better. I found that running allowed me time to process, to think, to pray, to worship God in a unique way. I learned the value of discipline and hard work and endurance to achieve an end goal. I was challenged with the idea of glorifying God through my sport. In the past 2 years, I’ve been faced with what it means to respond amidst injury.
And, perhaps most practical of all, I learned how to double knot my sneakers.