Anyone who knows me long enough knows I have a love/hate relationship with running. I started racing in 2006, and have covered every distance from 1 mile to 26.2. There were a few years that I was really competitive, racing every weekend, placing in my age division, even winning first female overall in small, local races. This was back when I was single and had plenty of time to invest in true training. True training meant hitting the track every week for speed work, going on group tempo runs, going long distance, strength-training, cross-training, etc. Then I got married. While my passion for running did not decrease, my devotion to it did. At one time I considered qualifying for the Boston marathon, which is an elite status among the running world, but now I was happy simply to complete a half marathon. What had changed for me? My priorities. My passion for fitness was still evident, but it wasn’t all about me. I started to help my non-running friends become runners. I would slow my pace and my distance to encourage my friends to get back into it. Then I started a cross country team at the private school I worked at, and helped middle and high school students develop a passion for running. This was extremely satisfying, especially since it was volunteerism.
- What passion/hobby have you turned into helping others?
Fast forward to my first pregnancy, where I ran continuously till 34 weeks (I met my goal of a 10K race at 30 weeks). I could write a whole lot about how my running changed, slowed, crawled nearly during my pregnancy, but the fact was it helped me have a very fast labor and delivery. After my son, I took a month off of running before getting back out there. I wasn’t the same runner after my son. I had lost so much speed, so much agility, I have yet to regain. No longer am I considered a top front of the packer. No longer do I place in my age division. No longer do I receive recognition. I’m currently training for my first half marathon post-baby, and it has been far from easy. But is running 13 miles ever easy? Why subject myself to hours of training, sweat, exertion and pain? What keeps me going?
- I pound out the miles to discipline my mind and my body.
- I am a goal-setter, and there’s nothing like a race to push me.
- I lace up and get out there for “me time.”
The spiritual parallels of running have motivated and inspired me to press on, despite my dwindling ability in the sport. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”~1 Corinthians 9:23-25. The ultimate prize is our eternal crown in the presence of the Almighty, not the dozens of earthly medals that will tarnish and not last. I want to be like the apostle Paul, who counted everything a loss for the sake of Christ. “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me”~Acts 20:24. I want to be able to say at the end of my life “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”~2 Timothy 4:7. It is a daily fight of the mind, the will, over the body, the flesh. What helps me to overcome, to persevere, to endure? Fixing my eyes on Jesus, not on me, not on man. In a race, I am gazing forward, ever forward, and I don’t look back at the runners behind me. I keep focused on the next mile marker, on the new scenery, on my fellow competitors in front of me to motivate and inspire me. Jesus is the forerunner of my faith, and He will perfect it. He will go before me and run beside me while I run my race.
- What have you once been good at, that you are no longer in your prime?
- Do you persevere, even if you don’t get the recognition?
- What motivates you to discipline yourself?