Thursday, February 28, 2008

Running Lesson #1


I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Phil. 4:13

I can still remember where I was and the satisfaction I felt the first time I ran 8 miles. That doesn’t seem like a lot anymore, but at the time I was so happy and relieved that I let out a great big “YEAH”! What I didn’t realize was there a group of people across the road who were now looking at me like something was wrong. Nothing could have been further from the truth. I did it! Not many weeks before I wondered if it was really possible for me to run 8 miles as a part of my half-marathon training; but that day proved that it could be done. And I figured that if I could run 8 then maybe, just maybe I could run 13.1.

What you need to know is that I have never been a distance runner. In fact I had always claimed I was certainly and most definitely not capable of running for any lengthy period of time. In school I was fast but only for short distances, so I ran the sprints and relays. The longer races were for others who are capable of that sort of thing. I was so apprehensive about this whole distance running thing that the first time I went out to run 3 miles I wasn’t sure I would make it and had already developed a plan for how to get back home!

One of the enjoyable things about running is that every time you go out it gives you the opportunity to do something you have never before or to do something you have done before better or faster. I had never run 10 kilometers until I ran a 10K. Then a half-marathon was followed by a marathon. Then came a better time in a 10 K and the list goes on. The point: I have learned that I am capable of more than previously thought!

Is there something that you want to do or see the need of but you’ve convinced yourself that you can’t? The truth is you can if you really want to. Is there a habit you need to break? Maybe there is something in your life you need to change? You can do it! Maybe you think that you couldn’t possible talk to your friend about God, but you can. Perhaps in the past you have said that you are certainly and most definitely not capable of teaching or going on a mission trip, but I bet you are!

These kinds of goals are challenging but those are the only goals worth having. Someone once said, “Why not go out on a limb, that’s where the fruit is!” Worthwhile goals are not easily accomplished. There will always be some uncertainty in attempting anything new or as yet unaccomplished but those aren’t good reasons to never attempt. With God’s help we can do more than we think! That’s the point that Paul is making in Philippians 4:13. Paul is describing his overcoming some obstacles that he had never faced before and he credits the strength he received from God as the enabling force in his life.

I am not suggesting that running is on par with what Paul was going through, but I am saying that with God’s help and our determination we are certainly and most definitely capable of more than we have ever imagined. Try something big. Attempt something new. Never give up and be sure that you can do it!

Think about it! Gotta run!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Why Do You Run?

Why Do You Run?

Hmmm, that's a good question and it's one that I’ve been asked a number of times; most of the time by others and occasionally by myself. Most of the time the answers are easy to come by but there are days I wonder why. Only recently have I reluctantly admitted that I am indeed a runner. That title always seemed to belong to someone else but the reality is that I’ve always been a runner! In the neighborhood, on the playground, in the house, on the track team, up and down the field and court, or in the backyard – I’ve always run. But not this kind of running!

But I don’t run just to run. In fact, if I had to run a few miles worth of circles 3 times a week at the track I would quit! Maybe those folks are the "real" runners, but I can't do it. I like to run different neighborhoods, wooded trails, and new places. In fact, I make it a point to try to not run the same place, pace, or distance any consecutive runs. Variety is the spice of life, you know!

But why this kind of running and why now at this age? Why 12 mile runs and 30 mile weeks? Why would anyone run for 2 hours? I know, I know - we look like we’re in pure misery running down the road and it does beg the question “why”? I recently heard, “Why would anyone want to run a marathon?!” Why would I risk ferocious fidos, distracted drivers and endure the pains, aches, injuries, and blisters? Why run in the ice (tricky), snow (kinda fun), and torrential rain (strange looks)? Good question and believe me I asked it a few times myself!

Well, I don’t run for the health benefits. I am in the best shape of my life, but there has to be better ways to stay healthy than endurance running. It isn’t for the endorphins. The fabled “runners-high” does exist and I can tell when it hits because I begin to sing aloud (and loud) with my MP3 player! But that doesn’t last long enough to make it a compelling motivation.

I run because…

I enjoy being outside! I have yet to find weather bad enough to make me prefer the treadmill. Rain, cold, and heat are all better options than running nowhere. Even when the weather is "bad", this is still a beautiful world!

I enjoy peace and solitude! People with annoying or silly questions will seldom expend the energy it takes to chase me down. Telemarketers can't get me out there either.

I enjoy being alone with my thoughts! It’s amazing how running opens up the mind and the thoughts flow so freely.

I enjoy self-discipline! When I am disciplined in one area of life I am in all.

I enjoy racing! I fell in love with the competition and camaraderie of a race my very first 10K.

I enjoy seeing new places! Running is the best way to get the lay of the land in places like Chimala, K’Songo, San Juan, Joburg, and Lakewood.

I enjoy goals! To set goals for training and racing and then working towards them keeps me motivated with worthwhile ambitions.

I enjoy learning! Pushing yourself may be the best way to know self and to learn the lessons of life. Mile 24 will teach you lessons that you didn’t know existed.

I enjoy being in motion! I am happiest when I am moving, being, and doing.

Yes, I am a runner and I do enjoy it!

That’s all for now - gotta run!