Remember the yearly Physical Fitness Tests from High School? Do so many push-ups, sit ups, and run the ever dreaded 15 minute mile? (Okay, maybe it was only dreaded by me.) Every year I managed to weasel my way out of the Fitness Test. I’d either be sick, have a doctor’s appointment, or my best way out, a broken leg. Every year, my schemes worked. Never once did I have to take the test. It’s bothered me for a while that I have never been healthy enough to complete a mile in 15 minutes. When I started the My 180 journey, one goal I set for myself was to conquer the 15 minute mile.
So on a hot mid-summer afternoon, I decided it was time to tackle the ever dreaded mile. After stretching and warming up, the running started. Mark ran the mile beside of me, cheering me on and pushing me to finish strong. There were times during the mile that I wanted to quit, especially when my calves started to feel like a million jellyfish had latched onto them. (Seriously, one million jellyfish.) But Mark knew how important it was for me to achieve my goal, therefore he wouldn’t back down in pushing me to keep running though the pain.
In life we must have friends that walk (or run) with us and push us though the pain. John Donne wrote “no man is an island.” While often hard to find, life is best lived in deep, connected community. We weren’t designed to go at it alone. Christ calls us to bare one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2).
Toward the end of the mile Mark could see that I wanted to give up. Had Mark not been there to run with me, to push me, and encourage me, I probably would have quit. Instead he shouted “you’re almost there… don’t give up… you’ve got this.” With the cheers of a friend I not only finished in under 15 minutes, but came in at 13.33. While my time won’t be recorded in record books, that day, one hot mid-summer afternoon, with the help of a friend, I kicked the track’s ass.