We can only control what we control. There are many things in life that happen to us that are outside of our hands. We are not defined by the things that happen to us, but how we respond to them.
In my last four races I have finished in the top 5 to 10%. I have been in a groove. I have felt stronger and faster than ever. As I entered today’s race I had visions of capping off my third race in six weeks with a strong finish. I ran the first mile in seven minutes and 45 seconds. And, I felt as if negative splits were before me. I hoped to break 23 minutes and after the first mile that seemed a realistic goal.
However, I soon reached a point on the course where a volunteer did not know where to tell us to go. As she called to find directions, I watched my average pace drop from 7:45 to 8:30. Frustrated by standing and waiting, I took off and followed other runners. Following a lost crowd sent me on a long and comical journey. We knew where we needed to go, but could not get to the other side of a branch of the Scioto River. By the time the winding trail got us back to the finish line, I had ran nearly 4 miles. My streak of top finishes was over.
In contrast to the focus of this race, my extra mile is a first world problem. The Columbus international 5K showcases the different cultures who live in the capital city. Many of these people came to the United States as refugees.
Additionally, this year the race focused on infant mortality. Columbus has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country. In fact, an area near our church is one of the most dangerous places for an Aftican-American family to have a child. Running an extra mile on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, on the banks of the Scioto River, while experiencing multiple cultures and listening to jamming music, is not a bad thing. Any frustration I had today will only serve as motivation as I train for my next race, the Hilliard Classic Half Marathon.
Instead of being frustrated by a less than noteworthy finish, I am inspired by people who have overcome real struggle and celebrate life.