Heather and I completed the Columbus Half Marathon this morning. My wife ran a great race and had a personal best time of 1:48! I was so proud of her as she beat her previous best by over 5 minutes! Sadly I missed being by her side because I left her and our friend Amanda at the beginning of the race in pursuit of my personal goal. I battled a sinus/respiratory flu all week but it was still hanging around this morning. I ended up finishing at 1:50. If I am honest, I was disappointed crossing the finish line. I really was shooting to get a 1:47 (my personal best was a 1:48). I hate making excuses so I will go straight to the lesson learned.

I am sure there are some that would disagree with this philosophy, but I’ve been thinking about it all day. I will never set a goal before a half marathon again. Running 13.1 miles is an accomplishment all by itself. I honestly don’t run them for times or records, I run them for the atmosphere. As crazy as it sounds, I run them for the enjoyment, the setting, the people, the signs, the slogans and the stories. I run them to thank the people that pick up all of the plastic cups thrown on the ground. I run them to thank the police that stand in the intersections and give “5” to the kids that line the course with signs for their parents. I run them to share the joy and the time with my partner in life and running, my beautiful wife. That is why I run. That is my joy and where I find the reason to do these things.

Setting a personal record robbed me of all of that today. I was so concerned about my pace and my overall time that by mile 9 (when it was becoming reality that the record wasn’t going to happen), I sensed the Holy Spirit remind me that I was not having fun. The song “Magnificent Obsession” was on and reminded me to get my priorities straight. I spent the last 4 miles battling and finishing as strong as I could on this day. When it was over and done, I felt a sadness that I missed an opportunity today. The missed opportunity was not the personal record, rather, the chance to do all of the things I listed above. We’ll have more opportunities and a 1:50 is nothing to be ashamed of, but at the end of the day, it’s not why I run.

Lord never let me forget that.

On a lighter note, the highlight of my day came somewhere in the middle of the race. As you can see I was “representing” my beloved Tar Heels today during the race. At one point, I noted a man in a Duke Sweatshirt. I took great pleasure and had a HUGE smile on my face as I ran past him. I might have even puffed out my chest a bit in case he missed what was written on my shirt. Rivalries never take a day off…not even in half marathons!