Trevor and I did some warm up jogging along one of the parts of the course, and after doing so I was nervous that my projected finishing time of sub 22 minutes was a bit optimistic. The course is much more winding with small rolling hills than is apparent from the spectator's perspective. And running in long grass is not as easy as running on asphalt. Then, almost right at the opening gun, the weather turned bad. Very dark clouds, high winds, spitting rain. The weather sirens went during the whole race. Well, all that to say that I didn't get the time I was hoping for. The clock read 22:54 when I crossed the finish. Disappointment and resolutions to do better next time are part and parcel of running. Still, the event was fun and a job well done by its organizers.
Over the past several years, running has been a significant spiritual discipline for me. You can see my shameless self-promotion on the sidebar under "Sound Body" where the running workouts from my Running Ahead accountdump into this page. It has become a part of my life. I'm convinced that the discipline of consistently running translates into improved discipline in other areas of life. Was Paul just giving a culturally relevant metaphor in 1 Cor 9:24-27? I think it was that, but it is hard to dispute positive effects of physical exercise. "I beat my body and make it my slave" is given a Platonic or gnostic interpretation by some. But it could just as easily be translated, "I discipline my body so it serves me."
We are physical creatures. Philosophers and theologians debate what the "me" is in this conglomeration of blood and guts and bones and neurons. Whatever it is, in my case it is served well by running.