A few weeks ago, I completed an adventure race called The Flying Frog Adventure Race with two friends; and the experience is something that I can truly say is life changing! Not just ‘was’ life changing, but continues to be a source of inspiration! I grew up playing basketball and various sports occasionally for school teams, but I never trained quite as hard for anything as I did for this race. My two friends and I did not know what to expect from the race since none of us had ever participated in one. An adventure race is a triathlon with a revolving third event: Running, Biking and Paddling.
My friends and I are fairly fit, and enjoy mountain biking, but we were not ready for all the running (8 miles) that would be required for this race, so we spent the better part of our blistering summer running trails around our home in the Charlotte, North Carolina area.
As the race came closer and closer, I began to fear that in spite of our training that we would be able to finish the race, and would have to drop out. All three of us on our team (Throwin Way Leg which is loosely translated ‘first step on a long journey’) will have to stay within a hundred yards of each other for the whole race, which might seem simple, but after a few miles into a 25 mile race it can be very tricky!
Josh, Shawn, and I were not trying to set any speed records, or for that matter even place; we just wanted to finish the race since we have never even tried something like this before! We started the race with the bike riding portion, and it was clear very early that we were out gunned by many aggressive pro riders and we fell back far in the pack. We had a couple wrecks along some of the more technical parts of the single track, and this just set Throwin Way Leg back even farther. Struggling with several racers along the tight single tracks came to an end when we transitioned into the running part of the race; we saw fewer and fewer of our fellow runners as the race pressed on and during a long straight part of the run. I had the feeling that we were close to last since we could not see anyone more than half a mile in front of and behind us. To compound or frustrations, one of our team members began having sever leg cramps and we had to use what little energy supplies we had left just to keep him on his feet. Our slow run became a walk and we had to at times stop stretch.
As we continued on foot, I began to compare the race to the walk of faith. Often we feel that we are alone in our walk with Jesus and sometimes we can even wonder if God sees us in our daily struggles. It is only when we find encouragement and fellowship with fellow Christians that we believe we are not alone. Often in the harder parts of the race, I found myself encouraging and being encouraged by my teammates!
As we wound down to the end of the running portion, we caught up to some other teams and found that indeed we were not in last place! Although it took team Throwin Way Leg over 5 hours and 15 mins to finish the race, I couldn’t have been happier, we finished the race and did it as a supportive team!