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May 2014

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Why I ran/crawled the Warrior Dash

Written by , Posted in Blog, Lead Yourself

I don’t jog. I play basketball and tennis. I run around a lot with my kids. But I don’t jog.

The only reason for jogging is to get in shape for basketball or tennis. I don’t jog.

Until now.

I consider leading a Small Group (of adults and their families) and a Discipleship Group (of two other men) to be a couple of the greatest privileges of my life. The two guys who’ve committed to growing in the Lord, along with me, decided we needed a physical challenge. Then we decided that we could turn a challenge into an opportunity. And all of this led to a commitment to run the Warrior Dash while raising money and awareness for Blackbox International, which brings help and healing to trafficked boys.

The Warrior Dash combines a 5K trail run, twelve obstacles and lots of mud. The more we thought about it, the more we liked the idea of suffering, if only a little bit, in order to help boys who’ve suffered so much.

So we started training. After each jog, we’d text each other our pitiful results. Here are a few of the texts:

I ran ¾ mile in 12 minutes. I had to stop every 3-4 minutes to rest.

I ran ½ a mile but had to stop, because I felt like my dog needed a break.

I ran 1 mile and hated every step.

But we kept after it. On our own, we would’ve lost our drive to keep going.

One of the guys significantly changed his diet. It was a sacrifice, but it paid off. All of us started drinking more water and making healthier choices.

After a month of training, we started to believe in ourselves. We all still had our struggles, but we were getting better. I learned that after running a little over a half mile, I’d hate every step for the next five minutes. But I also learned that if I pressed through that discomfort, the next fifteen minutes were enjoyable. I couldn’t believe it.

We asked people to sponsor us by making donations to Blackbox. We printed flyers, added a webpage, and told as many people as we could.

One week before the race, one of the guys was ordered by his doctor not to run. He’d hurt his back and risked more severe injury. He was so bummed. We all were. But we found a mutual friend, who also is growing in the Lord and loves Blackbox, to take his place. And our injured pal committed to being there to support us and raise awareness. I appreciated this, because I know how frustrated he was.

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On race day, we set-up a banner and prepped our contingency on how to tell others about Blackbox. They did an amazing job. People said what they often do, “You never hear about the boys.” This was the most valuable thing that happened all day.

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Boom! The race began.

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The first mile and a half challenged the runners with steep and narrow trails. Our training paid off. After a grueling quarter mile incline, we plodded by a number of people who had slowed to a walk.

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Then the obstacles arrived. They required climbing, crawling and clamoring. Our main goal was to safely traverse them. Cautiously, we did, helping others along the way.

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The final obstacle was a giant pool of soupy mud. Standing up would cause us to sink, and barbed wire ran low enough to force us to dip our faces into the mud.

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Warrior Mud Crawl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finish line! Even though we made it, no one congratulated us with a hug.

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We were all so excited when we left that we felt like we could’ve run it again. I’m sure the adrenaline was tricking us, but it was exciting to finish.

We learned how a common challenge grows friendships. Shared experiences are especially helpful for guys. We lack verbal skills.

We learned that the journey brings joy. In the midst of our distaste for jogging, we bantered back and forth, tempted each other with fattening foods and disciplined our bodies beyond what we would have done on our own.

We learned that purpose fuels passion. Training and preparing for the purpose of helping trafficked boys intensified our efforts. At one difficult stretch of the race, I caught my breath enough to tell a story about how one of the boys in a Blackbox home proclaimed, “I don’t feel like I’m in prison anymore.” The trail seemed easier after that.

Thanks to all who supported us in various ways. You can give to Blackbox anytime. If you don’t know about it, please check it out.

Blessings, friends. Run far.

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