The Gorgeous Coast Relay 10.6.18
Six women, 1 van, 48 miles. Smiles, laughter, maybe a tear, and the will to persevere.
This is a picture of me right after I finished the 11th leg of the race. I’m smiling because I’m finished. And because it was beautiful. It was so beautiful. And it was a test. And I finished it. But more about that later. The directors named this race the Gorgeous Coast Relay and God really helped them deliver on that. The weekend was bookended by the typical grey skies and heavy rains of Fall in Oregon, but on this Saturday, race day, the sun shone bright. Temperatures were higher than expected, and the views were breathtaking.
I did stop to take a few pictures. We decided ahead of time that we would be a pretty casual running team, and that we should all feel free to stop and to savor these moment of beauty (whether running on the edge of the water on the sandy beach, or while climbing an actual mountain). I am so glad I did. I was worth the extra minutes to stop and look with wonder at what God had created for me and for the world. Spectacular!!
It was not without its challenges though. Even though I had trained, and trained on hills, I could not have properly prepared for this run without practicing on muddy trails with a sharp incline (and decline). The downed logs just added to the adventure, although I admit that I really felt my age (47) when I chose to slide over the giant log rather than try to hop over it. The picture doesn’t do it justice, it was chest high. And the little green flag stood waving on the top as if to say, “Yep, I know this looks like a roadblock, but this is the way.” I actually stopped to see if maybe there was a way under it. Nope. Not unless I was going to dig my way through. And since I was short on digging tools, I opted to go over it. But not without first whispering a little prayer that Jesus would “guide my steps” up and over the log and for the remainder of the race.
It might have been the most difficult six miles of my life. It was muddy, and it was slippery in spots. It encouraged me to lean in to God, to pray for Jesus to run the race with me. To guide me, and to show me Himself all along the way. And He was there in the mud, and He was there in the sunlight streaming through the tree branches. He was there to steady me when the tree roots threatened to take me down. He was there in the constant crash of ocean waves I could hear every time I got close to the edge of the cliffs. In life, God has pursued me relentlessly and I am so thankful for His gentle touch pushing me forward in difficult times.
“….but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”