my search to understand the bigger picture

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Is Running A Gift?

i found myself asking why i run this morning.  it's been a frustrating year to say the least with my training.  i've only had a few runs that have felt like they went well; everything else has been a struggle.  this is not the norm for me, and has left me wondering if some changes need to be made.

do i need to quit striving for longer distances for awhile?
do i take an extended break from running?
do i incorporate more circuit training or attempt something like P90X?

i have a race that i really want to do coming up in mid-September in madison, wisconsin.  this is something i did last year and absolutely had a blast.  the race itself was great, but so was the camping out with josh and robbie for two days.  i'm not ready in my current state for the 50k distance i want to run, and i just don't know if i can get ready in the 7 weeks remaining or not.  i have no delusions of beating last year's time of 5:57:00, but just want to finish without it being a complete nightmare.  it's not that i don't want to put the work in.  i just have not been able to wake up for my alarm in the morning.  i hate running at night a lot because it takes time away from my wife.  she's always been great about it, just something i feel strongly about.

so, to take my mind off of my current state, i began to think back on all the positives i've received from running over the years.  here are some of those, in no particular order.

  1. got to change lives by running Comrades Marathon with Team World Vision.  this trip included meeting one of the girls my family sponsors.  meeting her, running Comrades, and traveling to another country all quickly became bucket list items that were crossed off.
  2. lost 80+ pounds.  some of that has been gained back, and every year there are some fluctuations. but, running literally has changed my health and my life.
  3. my eyes have been opened to just how much i can handle mentally and emotionally.  when runners say running is 90% mental, they mean it.  it's true.  it's amazing what our bodies can do and endure, and many times it's the mind that holds us back from going faster or farther.
  4. running has given me something tangible to feel good about.  God has done much in healing me of the depression i used to deal with.  running seems to be a gift in helping to continue fighting depression off.  it's true that any run is better than no run.  and it's amazing how just getting a run in can help me to feel better about the day.  it certainly shouldn't make or break my day, but it does help to feel that something constructive has been accomplished.
  5. running has given me MUCH needed alone time.  with a full time job as a pastor, husband, and father to 2 daughters, time for myself is sometimes hard to come by.  and i have learned over the years that it's vital for me to unplug on a regular basis.  this has been why i have not minded getting up at 4:30am to run.  
  6. running has given me reason to spend time in natural settings that i love so much.  there's not much i'd rather do than spend time running on trails.  i love being in nature, off the beaten path for hours on end.  
  7. running has also given me the opportunity to travel to different places and cities.  
  8. i have met so many people because of running that i otherwise would not have.  from others on Team World Vision, to online clubs like the Idiots Running Club and peeps on dailymile.  running brings people together like few things can.  it's amazing to watch walls of all kinds break down when people get out for a run.
  9. running has given me a platform to help others.  i've already spoken about Team World Vision.  it's also been amazing to be able to help so many friends and family who wanted to start running. one of the greatest joys i get out of running is sharing advice i've learned or been told on previous occasions to those who want it.  it's so inspiring to watch others work hard to achieve their goals, knowing that i helped them along in some small way.
well, that's it for now.  running is indeed a gift.  it ain't always easy.  many times it's frustrating, but then there are moments where the planets align, God smiles, and that perfect run occurs.  so many good things have come from me getting into running.  i thank God for introducing it to my life.  what an amazing gift!  i love when i give my own daughters a gift, something i meant for extreme pleasure, and they enjoy it to the fullest.  i absolutely love that.  and i can't help but think God feels the same way about me and running.  i fully believe he's given me this as a gift to enjoy, and i intend to continue to do so to the fullest extent.

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