I've started running and I don't like it at all. But I know its good for me, but I really don't enjoy it.
It all started when my friend Jenni invited to do a 5k park run. "Run at your own pace," she said. "You can walk as much as you want," she said. "It's a lot of fun," she said. So I showed up at 6:45am, surrounded by a lot of skinny people who looked like they might just float away if those big shoes didn't hold them to the pavement. And then there were those, who were forced to be there with their wives. You could tell who they were. The stayed on the outter fringe, and were obviously not awake yet. And then there was me. Someone who looked completely out of place. I didn't have the Lycra running shorts. Or the elastic headband with the little Nike symbol. I had a scowl on my face feeling like I had been tricked into something.
Ready, set, run!
So I had a great pace for about three seconds, and then panic set in. My inner monologue started kicking in asking, "What are you doing?" "This is rediculous." "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" My lungs started contracting and started feeling like stones in my back. My legs started hurting. I won't even get started on my shin's. My heart was almost visibly shaking my body. I ran for as long as I could, until my running partner Jenni, said "do you want to take a break?" Of course I didn't have any breath to spare to give her a verbal answer, so I just shook my head. For the rest of the 5k I took turns walking and running. Anytime it looked like I was gaining color back in my face, Jenni asked me to start running again.
I remember seeing the finish line and expecting to have this incredible sense of victory or triumph. I was hoping that the feeling would rise up within in me and inspire me to cross that finish line with my hands held over my head. I was hoping the chariots of fire music would start playing in my head, the way it did when I ran in my elementary school's kids olympics. Sadly, none of these things happened. There was no swell of music, and no inspiring feelings. There was just a feeling of, "please God, let it be over." I crossed that finish line, and the guy patted me on the back, and as encouraging as that was supposed to be, I wanted to punch him in the face for being part of the torture. I sat on the fence trying to catch my breath, but that didn't work. So Jenni shoved me into a car and said, lets get a coffee.
It took a long time for my body to finally recover. And that's when it hit me. I did it. I DID IT! Sure it was hours later. But I DID IT!!! I had so much energy. My body hurt so bad. But it was the good kinda hurt. It was the soreness that comes when you worked really hard at something. It was a great feeling. Well maybe saying it was great feeling would be a stretch, but it was a well deserved feeling.
Ok here is the part of the blog where the moral of the story comes out. Thinking about that day, I realized that is probably a good picture of what the last few years have looked like for me. It has been a daily struggle asking God, "What am I doing?" All that I have undertaken over the last few years have seemed like insurmountable mountains, and sometimes naively forgetting the sacrifice that is required. But now that I've crossed the finish line for this particular season, I'm jumping up and down saying, "I DID IT!" I'm a little sore and battle worn, but I did it. Every time It looked like I was getting comfortable, the big guy upstairs would start pushing me to start running again. Despite how my physical need for rest kept nagging at me for the last several years, I knew there was someone running with me through this journey. I knew that I was apart of a much large race than I thought.
My point is, when you are called to something, you have the strength within you to carry on and cross the finish line. When you feel like you are going to quit, look to the people running with you. When you don't have that, think of the people that have gone through the same thing and finished ahead of you. I know this isn't super eloquent. But I learned a lot from it. Running is getting a bit easier now, at least mentally. My body still hurts a lot, but at least I know running is worth it.