Random Rantings and Ravings from a Slow-Poke Runner in the Heart of the South. (A Weeekly (sort of) Blog about running and just about anything else)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Come to Jesus Moment

When I was in high school, my friends and I would often engage in activities that we knew we shouldn’t. I am sure I am not alone in that statement by any means. I remember one night on a July 4th when I was only about 16. My best friend and I decided to go out and hit mailboxes. Understand, we lived in a small town with absolutely nothing to do except really stupid stuff like, well, hitting mailboxes. The only problem was we had heard about people hitting mailboxes and heard reports of how fun it was, but we did not know exactly how to engage in this crazy endeavor. But my friend got an ax handle from his dad’s shop and we went out huntin’ a mailbox, nevertheless.

Now, we would learn later that the trick to this mailbox hittin’ thing is to do it on the go. That way you can’t get caught. We didn’t have that little tid bit of information. We go out at about 8 pm that night (awful early for mailbox hittin’ we would come to understand) and picked out a mailbox on a lonely road in my own neighborhood. Well, you can guess that we weren’t the most skilled at these kinds of stupid ideas. In addition, I drove a bright yellow GMC stepside truck that was a one-of-a-kind in the small town in which we lived. Getting the picture? Considering all this it is a wonder how David and I figured out anything in the way of a career but we managed.

Well, we stop, yes I said stop, in front of this mailbox and take the time to roll down the window. David climbs halfway out of the window and is pulling back the ax handle when I look over to the left and see several individuals looking through the storm-glass door of their living room. I see them begin to get off their couches and immediately yelled to David, “NOOOOO!” It was at that moment that I hear the unmistakable clang of a wooden ax handle hitting a tin metal mailbox with full force. I put the pedal to the floorboard, almost slinging David out of the window, so we could get out of dodge!

We drove around our little town that night for all of about 30 minutes and then made the clever decision to return home, just one street over from the mailbox we just caved in. We pulled into my driveway and had not even shut the doors to the truck when a car slung into the driveway and a man twice my age jumped out along with his twenty-something son. Now to get the full effect, you have to read his quotes in your best redneck twang: “I seen what you done and you ain’t getting away with it neither!” he yelled pointing his finger in my face. “We got you now. Uh huh. We got you now!” He nodded confidently, got back in their automobile and left.

My 15-year old best friend and I went into our house and into my back bedroom and sat on my bed, hands in our lap, staring at each other with wide eyes. We sat there for a long time and said nothing. In those days, I had a big ceramic Mississippi State Bulldog lamp that sat on my night stand. I still remember looking past David, staring at that big bulldog lamp. The bulldog looked back, standing there, hands on his hips, menacing look on his face. We just knew that, at any moment, the police were going to be ringing the doorbell and taking us away in handcuffs. It was a moment best characterized as a “come to Jesus moment”.

Unfortunately, I did not learn effectively from this experience and would have several more “come to Jesus moments” during my teenage years. It became an expression we used for those times when we knew we were caught or close to it and we sat there thinking, “what have I got myself into?”

I had another one of those “come to Jesus moments” this weekend but it had nothing to do with hitting mailboxes or, fortunately, any other sort of bad decision-making that brought me into a world of trouble. I planned a five-mile trail run Sunday evening to get back into the swing of running. I have run this trail numerous times and was not at all worried about completing the distance. Oh, I knew that it was going to be pretty hot and I would have to take it slow. But still, I was pretty confident that I could complete the distance without any problems. It didn’t strike me that I have really been relying more on cycling to stay in shape and have been running less and less. In fact, the extent of my running for the last several months has been a 2 or 3 mile “jog” in the air-conditioned comfort of the gym just a couple days a week. Nevertheless, I loaded in the car and headed out to the start of the trail.

The run started off great. I had a great playlist set up on my ipod and was enjoying running through the woods. About a mile and a half in the run I began thinking, “Hmm. This is kinda hard.” Five minutes later I was taking a walk break! I was only able to run a little more than two miles before walking. My pride was hurt. I quickly started back running but had to continue a walk break about every five minutes. I was a long way from the shape I was in when I ran a marathon last year! It was a “come to Jesus moment”! I have lost a LOT of my running shape from my focus on cycling.

My run ended at four miles that day and I am embarrassed to say how long it took me. It was hot and I haven’t run a trail in a while. But really, it just goes to show you that cycling fitness does not translate into running fitness and vice versa. Now that I have been awakened from my running slumber I realize I have to really get working to complete the half-marathon this December. Hopefully, my body at some point will remember how to run again and it will come more quickly that I realize. But at this point, I have been humbled and realize that this “awakening” has taught me a valuable lesson. At least this time I didn’t have to worry about being led off in handcuffs!


Blogger Michele said...

Guess we all remember our first come to Jesus moment. Hate whn they happen on a run
sorry you had such a tough one. this heat is horrible.

1:42 PM


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