Hitting the Wall


Craig McConnell shares how he has often underestimated the struggles he has faced, including his struggle with cancer.

I remember Bill Sayers and I participating in the Redondo Beach Village Runner 4th of July 5K run. It’s a route set on the bluffs above the ocean run by a festive mob of Los Angelinos. The holiday enthusiasm of the crowd causes most to underestimate the deceptively steep and daunting final 2.5 kilometers.
Bill and I ran with youthful vigor, thinking, as most do, “it’s only a 5K… we can trot this backwards with both arms tied behind our back, wearing Elvis suits while balancing seven plates on our heads.”

How often we underestimate what we’re facing.
We were fine until we hit the infamous “I” Avenue “Wall” and were passed by a coterie of pregnant women pushing strollers.
Wounded masculine pride is an untapped energy source.
With a glance Bill and I knew we had to ‘KICK’ the last 150 yards to pass the fleet-footed stroller team and re-establish our high finish in the Over 55-heavyweight-happy-go-lucky-good-guys–who-love-God-and-have-two-kids-and-hot-wives Division. So we kicked like mules with a bad rash; like war horses snorting under the strain of battle we went deep into overdrive and sprinted a solid 100 yards… 50 yards short of the finish. There was no glide time, drafting or coasting. We were blowing oil, throwing rods, overheating…
We came up short and limped across the finish line sucking air, totally spent like a couple of vanquished weekend warriors.

This cancer season has some similarities to that story. I’m running a race but keep misjudging where the finish line is. I thought the finish line was my last infusion of chemo. Nope.
How often we underestimate what we’re facing.
I sprinted and came up short. Apparently there’s a season of recovery, healing and finding a new normal I wasn't aware of.
It’s pretty gruesome to realize how hard we can be upon ourselves with our demands for recovery, healing, performance and normalcy following the traumas, wounds and battles we endure. I’m pretty certain we can expect more from ourselves than Christ does.
I thought I was running a standard 5K but I’ve already covered 10K’s and am still moving forward. This is a race I’ll finish and by the grace and strength of God I’ll hoist a tall cold one and echo Timothy’s words, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
What mile-marker are you at?

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