….you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.  Deuteronomy 4:29

Jane sat down on the couch across from Richard and tied up her running shoes.  “Hey Richard, let’s go running and get ready for the marathon we promised each other we would run on our 5th anniversary,” Jane  finished up tying her shoes and leaned over to kiss Richard.  Richard yawned, “You go ahead sweetie, I don’t have to practice as much as you do, I ran track in high school and college remember?”  Jane rolled her eyes, how could she forget when all his trophies and ribbons lined the living room wall.  But, he hadn’t run in close to four years.  Well maybe he was right, but the half-marathon was looming just three months away and she knew she needed to practice hard to prepare.  She blew Richard a kiss as she headed out the door and heard him busy clicking channels…..running was hard work but she would rather do that than constantly be inundated with the constant changing of tv channels.

Every night for the next week Jane invited Richard to run with her, but he always had an excuse not to not join her in preparing for the half-marathon.  She finally started running without bothering to invite him.  Every time she said something he bragged about all his trophies he had already won and that all he needed were a few practice runs and he would be as good as ever.

The day of the marathon arrived and Richard had never made it off the couch for a few practice runs like he had intended, but he put on his new running shoes and track outfit that he had bought with such good intentions a few months before.  He looked himself over in the mirror and silently congratulated himself on how great he looked.  He glanced over at Jane….when had she become so fit and trim looking?  But, look at her shoes!  Was she going to run in those?  She should have bought new ones for the race, well he would pull ahead of her in the race  and no one would have to know that he was with her.

They arrived at the race start area and received their numbers, then lined up with the other runners.  Richard glanced around at the other runners…was he the only one who cared about wearing new shoes for the run?  Everyone elses shoes looked worn.  The runners became quiet as the announcer blared through the mega-phone that the marathon would about to begin.

The starting gun sounded and the mass of people surged forward.  Jane took Richards hand as they began to run, after all this event celebrated their fifth anniversary.  Richard managed to keep up for the first half mile, but then his steps slowed to a near walk.  Jane encouraged him to continue, but after passing the one mile marker he slowed to a walk and let Jane continue alone.  He could not believe this was happening.  “He was the runner!  He was the one who set the pace!  He was the one who left the others behind!  He was the one to cross finish lines first!  Doggone it he had trophies to prove it!”  All this went through Richard’s mind as he watched all the other runners disappear into the distance.  The final blow to his ego came as Miss Newmeyer, their 75 year old neighbor, yelled at him to “move it or lose it” as she power-walked around him.   With that final insult Richard collapsed onto the curb wondering how he had gone from a world class runner to someone who couldn’t even keep up with the geriatric ward.

While Richard was wallowing in his confusion and misery an elderly gentleman sat down next to him unnoticed.  “Tough day.” the man said and Richard immediately recognized the voice.  “Coach? Is it you? I didn’t know you were going to be here today!” It was Mr. Myers, Richard’s old high school track coach.  “Yeah, some of my kids were running today and I wanted to check in and see how they were doing.”  “Wow,” said Richard, “I didn’t know you were still coaching track.”  “Once a coach always a coach.” Mr. Myers replied.  “You didn’t too well today, huh?”  Richard hung his head a bit, “No, I guess I didn’t.”  “You know what your problem was?” Mr. Myers asked. Richard tried to explain how his shoes were new and not broken in and he probably didn’t hydrate enough before the race but his coach cut him off by saying,  “You forgot the most important thing.”  Richard scanned through his memories desperately trying to recall what his coach had ever taught him was the most important thing about running but nothing was coming to mind.  Seeing that his former star student had no idea what he was talking about Mr. Myers re-educated him; “You have to win the little races if you want to win the big races.”  Seeing the blank stare in Richard’s eyes he was so familiar with, Mr. Myers explained; “You see, everyday your racing, whether you realize it or not.  Things are competing for your time and attention and you have to decide what the most important things are, then run after them.  Don’t let yourself get distracted or detoured.  Keep your eyes on the prize and everyday run to win.  You win the daily races, and you’ll win the long marathons as well.”  Seeing that Richard was now completely confused Mr. Myers stood.  “Well, my work here is done.”  “Wait!” cried Richard, “I have no idea what you’re talking about!”  Just then, Jane came trotting up holding a little trophy which she handed to Richard with a kiss.  “Happy Anniversary sweetie,” she said.  Mr. Myers winked at Richard and said, “You will son, you will.”