Last post I talked about my excitement for marathon training, but I must admit I didn’t get out of bed one day and decide “I love running!” No. I hated it for a while. At sixteen I had an Oscar worthy list of excuses:
– I’m tired because . . . [enter reason here]
– It’s too hot, cold, or windy.
– My legs feel like cinder blocks. I definitely do not feel like a gazelle today. I resemble more of a tortoise who is trying to escape a speeding vehicle. My head is sticking out to the max, but those legs. . . A slideshow is faster.
– I ate a freaking whole pizza last night and the contents of that meal are splashing around in my stomach.
– My backside is probably doing the jiggles. Anyone with eyes can see that.
– I hate sweating.
– How long do I have to run into what looks like now where?
– Well, it is raining. I am so not getting my hair wet today. No sirree.
– Is that a pain in my leg today? I should stop definitely.
But one day I did a 5k (3.1 miles). Granted I was forced, but I finished it and I did another one. Pretty soon I was thinking about running a 10k (about six miles). What happened to my list? Well, at sixteen there were three key benefits that overruled my excuses.
1. Great for praying – When I was sixteen, I lived in Korea on a military base that had several hills. If anything was to discourage me from running, it was the fact that I had to go upward. This wasn’t a run in the park. It made a prayer warrior out of me. As I was chugging up a hill, I would pray, “Jesus, please. Jesus please just let me make it up this hill. Help me because I am about to fall out!” or sometimes I would murmur Phil. 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens.”
I was like the little train that could. The only thing that was missing was the toot-toot part.
2. Besides praying, I did some thinking too. I thought a lot about how life is like running. There are obstacles that I had to overcome. I could say “Life ain’t worth it. It’s too hard.” or I could keep going even if it I felt the opposite. I thought a lot about that story when Peter walks to Jesus in that storm.
I thought about how Peter started walking toward Jesus on the water, until he sees the lightning, hears the thunder, and notices that the water is pitching a fit around him. Then he is like “Oh crap!” His shift in focus immediately makes him a prey to the tumultuous waters around him. “Save me Lord!” he screams. Jesus pulls him back to safety.
I figured if I felt like I couldn’t go another step in life, I had Jesus’ hand. If I stumbled, He would pull me back up and say, “I am here. Actually I have always been here. Stop looking at the hill and go with me.”
Like I said before, I did a lot of thinking. Running became my impromptu therapy sessions with a lot of pain and sweat mixed in.
3.The added bonus of finishing runs definitely helped. The myth about getting highs from finishing runs is not a myth. Beating your own time or running a longer distance makes you feel like a winner. At a race, the winner feeling is even better. People screaming “Go! Goooo!”
“You can do it!”
“Beat em! Run faster!”
On most occasions, I forget the growing blisters on my feet or that x amount of time has passed. I think about how it is almost over. I can eat a hamburger and some fries after this. Maybe some pancakes soaked in a healthy amount of syrup and butter.
I stick out my tongue like Michael Jordan did when he went for a dunk (Michael Jordan probably looked a lot cooler with his tongue out, but who cares. For some reason sticking your tongue really does put the little umph you need into whatever your doing.) and I just go for it, breezing pass the mass of people screaming inspirational phrases.
I am in the zone.
I am Jesse Owens, Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps (if he could run) sprinting those last meters.
Then I cross the finish line
And keel over, but not before I think “Hey that wasn’t so bad after all. Let’s do another in a week.”
I also run for my health, for the pure pleasure of it, and to occasionally enjoy my Oreos, but the three reasons why I started . . . well those are the reasons I continue to run every week.