Just one more mile. That is exactly where my mind went the minute I crossed the white, spray painted number two on Fifth Street.
It was yet another 5K race in my long history of the dreaded 3.1 miles that my feet have tread through.
This past weekend, I showed up, dreary eyed, with my best friends standing beside me to participate in the Pump-KIN-Run.
The race was hosted by the Sport and Exercise Science Program here at Gannon.
Our professor encouraged all of us to become involved, whether it meant participating in the race itself, donating a basket for the Chinese auction or volunteering the day of.
That morning, I felt the small butterflies flutter in my stomach as my excitement for the race grew.
See, I was a cross country and long-distance track runner in high school.
I spent day after day running through our school’s woods and gamelands.
Some days, I was delirious with signs of heat stroke.
On others, I could see the frosty exhale with each breath I took amidst the frozen air.
For years, I ran mile after mile, some much faster than others.
Running has been a major part of my life. And there are many others who would agree.
When people wonder why I run, I often find it difficult to answer.
The answer cannot be found in the absorbent amount of carbs you can eat or the feeling in the middle of a 5K when the shin splints kick in.
Instead, I would have to mention the exact moment I found true peace with God in the middle of a run one fall three years ago.
I was out of breath, pumping my arms excessively to get up the hilly dirt road a few miles behind my house.
When I finally broke through the clearing in the trees, I immediately stopped and looked to my right.
That chilly afternoon, the sun broke through the clouds as streaks of pink and orange cascaded across the scene.
I felt the wind blow across my face and I took a deep breath, feeling the presence of something much greater than myself.
As a scientist, I would agree that it might have been the endorphins streaming through my bloodstream.
But as a Christian, I would say it was something much greater than that.
So, this past weekend, I was able to relive the excitement of participating in a sport that has laid such an important groundwork for the rest of my life.
I felt carried the entire way through the race, looking straight ahead toward the finish line, feeling weightless on the pavement.
God blesses our souls with the very opportunity to be with him with the work we may do each day.
It might mean grabbing a paintbrush for some.
It might mean opening the Bible for others.
I just start to lace up my old, worn out running shoes and I know I am about to go for a daily jog, but it definitely will not be alone.