Run no. 36 & 37 – Surprising Yourself

surpriseRun No. 36 – Hard work from the off.

Distance: 4.53 miles   Time: 40’41”   (PB 39’ 39”)

Awful. Nothing to redeem it. Bizarrely I was too hot – on the 27th October! Ugh!

Run No.37 – Surprising yourself

Distance: 4.53 miles   Time 38’28” NEW PB (Previous PB 39’ 39”)

A cold, misty November lunch-time.

I felt sprightly from the off, but as I’ve only managed to get in one run a week for the past two weeks, I was not expecting a good time.

I felt like I was pushing hard all of the way round, with very few lapses in concentration. But it always feels hard, so nothing new there!

I was shocked and stunned to see my time on arriving back – 1’11” FASTER THAN MY PREVIOUS PB!

An 8’30” per mile pace which is not bad for an old man!

Moments like this leave you wondering, “Where the blazes did that come from?!”

How is it possible that I could make that kind of jump in performance, just like that?

If we can still be surprised from time to time by our own behaviour, then it strikes me that we don’t really know ourselves very well at all.

And if we don’t know ourselves that well then we should certainly be a bit hesitant to imagine that we have understood other people at any deep level.

I have known a few old men who have had the experience of going to war. I knew one who had won a medal for extreme bravery – he went into a burning fuel dump to rescue a comrade. Another one had had to survive in the jungle for weeks being tracked by the enemy, living off the land.

None of these men ever wished to speak of their experiences, some of them were still troubled with nightmares decades later. All of them were amongst the gentlest; kindest people I have ever met.

Yet in the extreme circumstances of war they had found things out about themselves.

They had found themselves capable of doing things that they now wished to forget.

The question

“What am I capable of ?”

is always ambiguous.

There is the hope that we might well be capable of the great, the glorious, the good, the generous, the self-giving.

Yet there is also the fear that, if driven to it, we might also be capable of unspeakable horror.

Who knows what is in the heart of a man?

There are some helpful words in the book of divine wisdom, also known as The Bible:

I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind,

to reward each person according to their conduct,

according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:10

The Lord does not look at the things people look at.

People look at the outward appearance,

but the Lord looks at the heart.’ 1 Samuel 16:7

Which is actually quite terrifying.

There is no possibility of hiding, no concealment of all our many flaws and failings; just the inescapable fact of judgement; when we get everything we deserve for our screw-ups, nastiness, selfishness etc.

Which is an awful prospect – at least for those of us who know ourselves to be weak, fallible, sinful people…

…were it not for the following promise of God to all those who turn to Him:

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;

I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26

God was the originator of heart transplant surgery!

And He is still in business.

And He is still at the top of His game.