by Kelsey Bruce
Rachel Weber, I read your blog post this morning when I woke up; so you gave me plenty to think about on my run today.
I’ve been wanting to pick back up my blog recently and I thought, what’s a better time than to encourage someone else? Rachel, I hope you find some joy and encouragement in my inarticulate words.
I met Rachel last summer at the RRCA’s RunPro camp last year (a blast and blessing) and she made a new definition of 800m runner for me.
Her range from her 2:02 800m race to her treadmill tempos put me in awe. Many 800 runners (and coaches) I had come into contact with had made excuses or reasons that cross country was too long, long runs are too long; Rachel proved all these to be empty words. (Yes I understand that 800 training isn’t the same as 10k) but Rachel was willing to do what she needed to do to be the best; even if that meant working hard or long.
Rachel and I were roommates at camp and at the time I was coming off my first ‘major’ career injury and she had just dazzled the world. But speaking with her reminded me of how fun it is to run fast (I use ‘fast’ loosely haha- I probably couldn’t keep up with her for half of her race). She encouraged me by being proud of her accomplishments, in a non-boastful way; just a genuine excitement and love for the sport- for the PR; the number all of us crazy runners strive for.
Up to this point, with her help, I knew that it was all worth it. I was through my injury and running again. I was infatuated with the idea of finishing a workout with my hands on my knees. With finishing a long run soaked from the humidity. I had missed the hard of running. But I was also in a hard place of feeling lost in direction of where I wanted my running to go.
Well, back to Rachel; Rachel qualified for the 2018 US INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS this year; an outstanding accomplishment alone. Her results, noted by her blog post were not what she’d hoped and Rachel learned her own hard this weekend. The challenge of racing at a high level; in a type of race that takes guts and strategy; the 800- one I will never have the talent for.
And you, me, and anyone that runs knows you are human. Your fans and followers know where your identity is; Christ. We know you’re an excited, young, learning post collegiate who is going to have hiccups. And well Rachel, from the sounds of it; you became a better athlete this weekend! You learned a lesson that there was only one way to learn and you are even more ready for outdoor (which everyone cares more about anyway :)).
Running is dang hard. From the hunched over girl at the end of a workout, to the tears in the middle of a workout (maybe that’s just me haha), to the race that didn’t go how we plan, to learning where our roads are leading us. But isn’t that the cool thing?!? With a LORD like Jesus, why would we try and do anything easy??
Just like you said. “How lucky am I?” That we get to try!!!
The tough times make the success so much more fun!! So much sweeter.
Bad days don’t define us. Bad races don’t define us. And as much as we’d like them to, the good ones don’t either. We just use each of these to write our definition of who we are. Whether we decide to learn. How we decide to respond going forward. Our experiences, successes and failures both. And, ultimately, our identity is in Christ.
I may not run forever, but luckily, running isn’t the only hard thing in this world ? I will, and I’m sure Rachel will, always choose the challenge. The opportunity to lean on Jesus, to learn, and to grow, and then REJOICE when the good times come, might not happen without the hard.
And not to mention; we do what we do for so much more than a finish time or place.
The definition of Rachel Weber in my dictionary is far from the time next to her name. BUT I do anticipate a pretty little PR in the not too distant future.
Love, Kelsey Bruce