The last part of the track is uphill.
Lately, I’ve been enjoying the greater flexibility of summer schedules and bicycling the 12 mile trail past Lake Wichita. The direction I choose means that I finish with an uphill stretch. Oh, it’s not horribly steep or anything (this is North Texas after all, and not known for steep hills), but at the end of 12 miles it’s just enough to intimidate the last dregs of my energy. Usually as I approach the final curve, I slow down and creep across to the parking lot, peel myself off the sweaty seat, and limp to my car, nursing that inner satisfaction of having completed 12 miles.
Today as I watched the mile markers and compared them to my stopwatch, I realized that I was positioned to beat my personal record. I pushed it. I ignored my complaining thighs and muscled along each slight incline. Instead of slowing down on the last stretch, I actually sped up and rolled right up to my truck exhilerated and smiling broadly. I bounced off the biked with surprisingly less soreness. Endorphins are my new best friend. 🙂
I’m not usually much of a sports person, but I thought this morning about the end game in different sports. In basketball or football, you can get a big lead and then coast across the finish line. Just hold onto the ball and let the clock run out. In tennis, though, you never get to coast. To win, you have to win the last point of the game, the last game of the set, the last set of the match. No slacking off or letting the time run out. I don’t bike competitively, so I can choose to coast or to push across the finish line. Pushing feels better.
I think life is like that. You can choose to coast and limp or to push harder and finish strong. God has given us direction for this choice.
Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenword in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3: 13-14
2 Peter chapter one talks about adding to your faith virtue, and adding to your virtue knowledge, and so on. Always adding. Always getting stronger. Never coasting, never slacking, never letting the clock run out. Paul says press on to the goal. I think runners call that strategy uneven splits. You start out slow, build momentum, and press on faster at the end finishing victorious (or at least strong and fast).
Coasting is easy. I need to watch out for that.