A little over year ago I hated to run. In fact, I didn't run, ever! I joked with my friend, Dove, (who runs like a cheetah) that if she ever saw me running she should call 911, because something must be terribly wrong. One of my favorites sayings was, "I never run with scissors... the last two words were not necessary". I told Dove I wouldn't run because I didn't want my feet to get ugly callouses. In all seriousness, I didn't think my feet could take running. I have a heel spur and bouts of plantar fasciaitis.
We were having a "Biggest Loser" contest at work and the competition was fierce! We were doing workout videos after work each day. It was so hard at first because we were so out of shape. Gradually it got easier and finally became a good habit, one that we enjoyed, rather than dreaded. There has been such a ripple effect from that simple contest. Lifestyles were changed, hopefully forever. It wasn't just a short-term diet. They finally had to quit bringing cake to our staff in-services, because it wasn't being eaten! I'm not saying I never indulge in a piece of dessert, but my voracious appetite for sweets has mostly disappeared. I now crave much healthier food.
One day after work, nobody was able to stay and do a workout video, but a couple of coworkers were going to run and invited me to join them. I really didn't want to miss a workout, because you all know if you miss one, you miss two, then three, and just like that you are back to being a couch potato. I told them I would try and figured my feet would kill me the next day. We ran down the dirt road by the school. We would run to one power pole, walk to the next, and kept alternating. I seriously thought I would die and I don't think we even went that far.
My feet didn't hurt the next day, so I kept on running. It's a fast way to burn calories and get your heart rate up. My brother, Dave and my daughter-in-law, Kallie had done the Labor Day 5K around the lake in Windsor. I decided for my 50th birthday I would try it. I figured I would have to walk some of it, but like the saying goes, "whatever you do, you are lapping the person on the couch."
To my surprise I was able to run the entire thing!
So, here I am almost a year later and I just ran my sixth 5K. Michelle says we should do a 10K. Well, I will have to do some serious training before that can happen.
I have found that if I stop when my legs hurt or I get tired, it hurts worse when I start again. So, I tell myself I'm not allowed to stop unless I throw up or pass out. Neither have happened, go figure! Like Bret says, "our minds are weaker than our bodies".
Some of you may find this weird, but for me, running is a spiritual thing. I talk to God while I run (sometimes I say, "please help me survive this!" or "please don't let me die out here on the dirt road"). But seriously, there is some kind of euphoria that happens. Maybe it's the endorphins that kick in with any good exercise, or maybe it's just the early morning air, sunshine, dirt roads lined with sunflowers, cows grazing on much-prayed-for green grass, a faithful dog or two running beside me (the one who needs to get in shape, Daisy is faithful...to wait either on the couch, or in the shade). Maybe it's knowing that I'm running because I am able, for as long as I am able. I know so many who can't. Like my sister-in-law Cindy who was flown from Cheyenne Wells to Aurora in congestive heart failure and had triple bypass surgery and the long recovery that goes with it, or a friend with bad knees, or another with balance/dizziness issues. When these people come to mind, I ask God to bless them.
I think most anything we do can be done to honor God and to help others. Colossians 3:23 "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.
"Most 5K runs give proceeds to good causes. The ones I've participated in to date have helped: schools, arthritis sufferers (both human and animal), needy children at Christmas time, college athletic training program at UNC, children of the first responders and military killed in the line of duty, and crisis pregnancy centers.
If you look at the verse I have posted on my Running Bulletin Board below, yes, I have taken it out of context, but it reminds me to pray and rely on Him before every race, and to give Him credit for the results. I think the verse is talking about a much bigger, more important race. The Great Commission to tell others, if they are willing to listen, about God's love, mercy, grace and salvation! My Life Application Bible explains it like this: "The Christian life involves hard work. It requires us to give up whatever endangers our relationship with God, to run with endurance, and to struggle against sin with the power of the Holy Spirit. To live effectively, we must keep our eyes on Jesus. We will stumble if we look away from him to stare at ourselves or the circumstances surrounding us. We should be running for Christ, not ourselves, and we must always keep him in sight."
We can show His love by helping widows, orphans, the sick, the poor, etc.
I apologize for the length of this writing. I do hope it inspires someone to find a form of exercise they will grow to enjoy. To set a goal, even if it's just to walk, or bike, or swim a short distance every day. More importantly, I hope it inspires someone to focus on the biggest, most important race!
In the meantime...I GOTTA RUN!!