Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Walk (07/20/06)
TITLE: The Walk of Faith
By Tina Mitchell Boutall
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Last April, I decided to enter the 2006 MS Walk. The walk was 7.5 miles on concrete and is held in many cities across America throughout the year. I walked in memory of my mother’s best friend, Beverly, and another friend struggling with the disease. I was confident when I signed up. How hard could another three and a half miles really be? “I can do this!” I thought. With my web page set up donations began rolling in and following an online training program for a 10K my feet were in motion. The daily walks varied in distance with longer distances each weekend. A bursitis flare up after my first 6-mile walk held me back almost a week. Runners from an online forum advised building the hamstrings and gluteus muscles to lessen or eliminate potential inflammation in the hips and knees. With more muscle groups performing, the joints absorbed less shock and performed better. So, I worked to develop those muscles and walk that distance.
Diet also played its role. The proper blending of protein and carbohydrate at each meal, limited fat intake, fruits and vegetables were necessary fuel to build the ultimate “walking machine”. My endeavor to do well proved quite a challenge. It was so much more than “one foot in front of the other” as previously thought. A blood clot under my big toe nail on the right foot three weeks before the race proved the right shoes were indeed critical to my success.
I prayed, trained, dieted, researched, took scrupulous care of my feet, and stretched until race day. The day came and it rained the whole way. During the walk I felt like giving up and jumping in the car with my friend that followed and snapped pictures while he yelled, “You can do it! You’re almost there!” Every step after mile six was sharp and murderously painful. The left knee locked solid. Thankfully, no one was around when it locked up and took my breath away. I held the left leg straight and led with my right leg all the way back and used the left foot only to step down and maintain balance. No one knew of my pain as I smiled and chatted with fellow walkers the last mile.
Inflamed, I proudly crossed the finished in fourth place in one hour and 57 minutes behind three underage college girls and raised $965 for the cause! The price paid for my moment in the sun was I limped and lived on ibuprofen for three days but it was well worth it! When I heard the applause, saw the smiling faces of those less fortunate and suffering, I thanked God for allowing me to walk for them.
Our Christian walk can, at times, be sheer joy or sheer pain. As I rounded the corner to the finish line my focus wasn’t on the line or the crowd but my next step. Small goals, steady focus and resolve were the keys to crossing that finish line. I didn’t look up until I was there. We don’t become marathon Christians able to tackle any difficulty overnight. We must train for it; eat good spiritual food, ready our mind and body, and daily walk in preparation for the marathon of life. When we cross that holy finish line to hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant” from our Lord and Savior – we get there one step at time, stride after side, sometimes dragging a leg. And he’s there every step of the way and promises we will make it eventually, if we keep the faith!
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” II Timothy 4:7 (NIV)
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