Sunday morning the alarm went off at 4:30 AM. On a normal day, I would have been startled out of a deep sleep as the annoying ring grew louder in the dark room. This was no ordinary day. I had been awake for the past two hours, hoping to get just a little rest before I joined the masses for the 13.1 mile run.

Dragging myself in a daze out of the bed, I was excited to complete the third race in San Diego’s 2008 ½ Marathon Triple Crown.

On the drive to the race start, I could not help but be amazed at God’s natural beauty as the full moon danced upon the ocean waves before sunrise. The peaceful glow of radiance just before the powerful sunlight washed away the hue of moonlight.

Masses of people began to gather at the start line. Each person with their own story of being there. What I would not give to hear them all. Stories of overcoming illness, stories of personal goals, stories of friendship, and probably an excuse or two to vacation in the place I call home. All the stories intertwined to form a common theme as they all intersect to define the race ahead.

Thousands of feet banged against the asphalt bringing to life the heartbeat of this race. Digging deep and sinking into 2+ hours of rhythm was the mission. My mind could not help but wander to the concurrent Olympic Games taking place a world away. The accomplishments of the world’s best athletes and how they overshadowed my measly 7:30/mile pace. How alike they all were with 1/100ths of a second determining their places in line, but yet how defined and different they all were defined by country, dress and color. Just like me in the sea of 6500 runners, each person is individually gifted and defined by God Himself.

I get somewhat philosophical during my runs, and this day was no different. In the midst of wondering about the individual stories of people on the course, I began to wonder what it was that was powering each of us to physically run. Organs to function, air to breathe, muscles to move, brains sending signals to the body to operate, eyes to see and calculate distance, emotion to push us forward. The intersection of all of this is God. Much like the intersection of all of these people made up the race, the intersection of the ability to run this race is the simple truth that God created us with the ability to run in the first place. He created us to do amazing things. He gifted us all with the talent. Simply beautiful.

Digging deep I pushed towards the goal this day. Using God’s gift of life, I crossed the finish line in the final race of San Diego’s Triple Crown Series. Amongst the masses of people I had a smile on my face like I have never had before at the finish. God’s beautiful gift to us as people lies in the blessings around us each and every day. Sometimes those blessings are in the form of natural beauty, sometimes those blessings are in the form of natural ability, and sometimes those blessings are in the form of other people. Just simply being awestruck at the blessings he has given us defines my life. These are the things that make my heart sing. This is my story. I will keep on running as long as I can. It is just one way I connect with my Lord.

What is your story?