Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Race Day

Ask a lot of runners what they're doing the night before a race, and they'll tell you they're "carb-loading." In other words, they're eating a lot of pasta. This is because of the way that the body processes carbs into energy; it's really the biggest bang for your buck when you're planning on going out and doing something that requires a lot of energy for a relatively short bit of time. You can get carbs into your system and access them pretty quickly for energy and then, they're gone. 

Carb-loading, and the big pasta night, have been a staple of distance running for a long time. 

And that's all well and good if that's what you want to do, I suppose. I'm not against a giant plate of pasta on any night, really. 

But like I've said - no one just gets up in the morning and decides to run a distance race, even if they had a big plate of pasta the night before. And this is where today's lesson comes in. 

Ask those runners what they do on the night before a long training run. Most of these runners have been putting in the time and putting in the distance to build up to 13.1 or 26.2 miles. They run 3 miles, then they run 4, then they run 5. Most of them get up to at least 10-11 miles before they even run the race, making sure they can run that distance comfortably. 

And most of them aren't having a giant plate of pasta before even a 10-mile training run. No, they trust that they've built up to it and that they can do 10 miles, and they just go out and get it. 

Some runners train with a water bottle, running every distance with the ability to take a sip of water whenever they need it. Then, they get to the race and depend upon the hydration stops planned along the route. They don't bring their own water bottle with them because they know that the race is providing water or Gatorade or whatever at every such-and-such a distance.

Some runners train comfortably just doing their regular thing, then they go out and buy a bunch of energy gel packs or whatever the popular thing is to carry with them during the actual race, in case they need some extra fuel along the way. 

What I'm saying is - there are a lot of runners out there that race far differently than they train. 

And I don't know why. 

If you're making a 10-mile training run without a giant plate of pasta, and it's a comfortable for you, why do you think you need it the night before the race? If you're training to run with water at your disposal, why are you leaving your water at home? If you've never needed a gel pack before in your life, why weigh yourself down with one during the race? 

There's something in us that wants our race to be perfect, that wants to have everything with us that we might possibly need. Something that doesn't quite trust in the training that we've put in. Something that wants a little cushion. (This is also why, by the way, we pack more for three days of vacation than we'll ever use in three months in our own home.) 

Why is it so hard for us to trust the training? Why is it so hard for us to believe that when we've put in the work and taught ourselves to trust in the strength that we've built...that it's not going to fail us when we most need it?

Why is it so hard for us to believe that when we've spent a lifetime building a trust in God, learning to rely on Him, leaning into His goodness...that He's not going to fail us when we need Him most? 

For some reason, the hard times hit, the world comes crashing down, we come to the place where it's time to put our faith into action...and a lot of us race differently than we've trained. All of a sudden, it doesn't seem to matter to us how many days God's gotten us through already. This day, for whatever reason, feels different. So we try a bunch of things we've never done before, convincing ourselves it's how it "has" to be done. Why? 

Why do we keep doing this? 

We've been training for this. Why can't we just trust that? 

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