Making a Run at Relational Joy

I have run thousands and thousands of miles.

And I’ve run most of those miles all by myself – just me and the sound of the pavement beneath my feet.

When I was running my most recent half marathon, I really started thinking about this. I realized how lonely and selfish the majority of my “running career” has been.

It’s always been about me, me and me.

Confession: It made me a little sick to my stomach to think about.

That realization was magnified over the course of those 13.1 miles, because for the first time ever, I started a race with someone and I finished the race with them, too.

It was an amazing experience!

Sure, I’ve started races with many friends and family members, but I’ve never crossed the starting line AND the finish line with them.

Usually, after the starter’s pistol is fired, it has always been about ME!

• MY pace

• MY training

• MY PR (personal record)

It has always been about pushing MYSELF and running MY race.

It has always been about MY time when I crossed the finish line.

Again…selfish and disgusting.

When I created my current 55/555 life list, I subconsciously addressed this disturbing issue. I added a bold and intentional task:

No. 5 – Run six half marathons with friends/family

On April 26, I ran the first of those six races – the Lone Star Half Marathon in Arlington – with one of my favorite people in the whole world, Courtney Lanae Foster. (I’ve said it once – and I’ll say it again – I’m one of her biggest fans.)

So how was it?

As mentioned before…

It. Was. Amazing.

Lone Star Half MarathonI never realized how wonderfully great the experience would be. I just thought it would be fun to run with some friends and family members who liked to lace ’em up and pound the pavement.

It was so much more!

After Courtney and I crossed the finish line, we gave each other a big high-five and a sweaty hug. I was quick to tell her: “That was my favorite race of all-time, girl!”

She was a little surprised, but it was the truth.

It was  instantly my favorite race for a handful of reasons. My Facebook post after the event might have summed it up best, though:

We laughed A LOT. We acted out. We solved world problems. We talked about our goals, dreams & aspirations.

We didn’t run super fast.

We didn’t care if people passed us.

If we needed to walk – we did it.

We thanked every police officer on the course and expressed our appreciation to every volunteer group at the water stations.

At every mile marker we would do something silly, whether that was fist bump, do a heel click, rock a handstand OR all of the above.

We talked about anything and everything for 2.5 hours, even discovering trivial unknown facts about each other…

• Courtney: “I used to not like Mexican food…”

• Me: “I’m scared of murky raging water…”

• Courtney: “My dad and I are random hummers…”

It was silly stuff, but it was fun to unearth these quirky tidbits about each other. (Just when you think you know somebody, you discover they haven’t always liked enchiladas. Who knew?)

Another reason the 2015 Lone Star Half Marathon instantly became my favorite race, was because Courtney got to mark something off her 27/27 list (27 things she wanted to accomplish before she turned 28). With 5 days to spare, she was able to accomplish No. 4 on her list (run another half marathon). #markitoff

The really inspiring part of running together was the chance to celebrate our friendship. We talked about how we became friends almost 5 years ago and how our friendship has blossomed over the years. We both agreed that we were lucky to be a part of each others lives.

Live the ListTowards the end of the race, I reminded myself that this experience exemplifies one of the cornerstones of the Live the List Project: Relational Joy, which focuses on laying up eternal treasures in heaven. Those eternal treasures revolve around the people we spiritually touch during our lifetime.

One of my mentors penned that wonderfully great explanation, and I firmly believe that if we embrace this concept, marking things off of a life list can be life changing. The Live the List Project gives us the opportunity to invest in others while inspiring them to live a bold, adventurous and intentional life.

For 13.1 miles, Courtney and I did just that. We invested in each other. We invested in our friendship. We inspired each other to keep living boldly.

That’s what made the 2015 Lone Star Half Marathon so special.

In regards to No. 5 on my life list…one race down and five to go.

And now I’m so fired up about doing those half marathons with other friends and family members.

Thanks, Court, for being an amazing friend and showing me the potential greatness of this life list item.

Run on, girl!

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