We all run for a reason. This is mine.
Last night, I was talking to one of my friends who is competing in an upcoming figure competition.
She was picking my brain on my daily habits as her training and dietary programs are rigorous to say the least. She was exclaiming about all the changes that she was making to prep for the show. She was quitting any health habits that would sabotage her such as alcohol and caffeine, leaving the room if there was a dessert she couldn’t eat, and she started going to church again to get into the right head space. And I was proud of her.
I am quite similar to her in that when I set a fitness goal for something, I have unwavering focus and dedication to it to the point of ridiculousness. It is the only way I can run a marathon. I recently told a friend that I never run a marathon, I simply run a kilometre 42.2 times. The steady repetition of what I know allows me to run further than I could if I would keep the entire picture in my mind.
Something that is intrinsically linked to fitness and running for me is my spirituality and relationship with God. I am a wild, busy and often loud person so I seek out silence and solitude on the unruly trails where I am forced to make my breathing rhythmic and be alone and quiet for a long, long time. And that is where prayer starts to come in. I pray for people when I run. I pray for myself when I run. I start to focus on what is really inside me, confessing what will harm me and growing what is good.
I recently bought a book called The Philosophy of Running. It is an incredible book with short chapters that each link the act of running to a philosophical question or truth. When I bought it, the saleswoman leaned over and told me to read one chapter and then go on a run to wrestle it out. This started a beautiful routine I read a chapter in my running shoes and immediately headed for a run. When I was finished, I began to incorporate more books I wanted to think more about, like the Bible, and read a chapter before I ran.
For me, running is not just grinding down the miles until I reach my doorstep again. It is an act of worship and it is transformational for me. I use it to exercise both physical and spiritual disciplines so I can have a life completely oriented to the reality of God. And so when I wrestle out the depths of who I am in God on those long runs, what people see on the surface is transformed and energized by those depths (and not just endorphins). 🙂
That is why I live my life in a certain way. And that is why I run.