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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thoughts on Life and Running

I am a runner. That is not the only thing or even the most important thing about me, but I fall into the runner category rather than the non-runner category. Or at least I do now. 4 years ago, I was most definitely NOT a runner. Since I am pretty new to running, sometimes I make discoveries that seem profound. Like one evening some time ago.

My schedule called for a 6 mile run. That was not a particularly long run given my fitness level at the time, but it is more challenging than a 30 minute "easy" run. I always try to stick to my schedule, since I have created the schedule with a goal in mind and each training event is a step closer to that goal. When I miss a goal, that can make the next step that much harder and easier to fall completely off the schedule.

This night, after about 20 minutes or so, my stomach started to give me trouble. Not just the usual "I might have eaten a bit too much at lunch" kind of rumble I get from time to time, but more of a "I think I might lose my lunch, breakfast and anything else I even thought about eating" kind of upset. The last time my stomach was that upset was when I tried out a new flavor sports drink for the first time during a marathon. Owww!

I kept my pace a bit easier than I had planned and kept going. As I got closer to home, I realized I was approaching a crossroads. I could turn right and be home in about 5 minutes, but that would leave me about a mile short of my goal. In terms of my overall schedule, that would not be a major setback and would probably not hurt my training in any measurable way. But mentally, I felt that I needed to push myself at least a little more so I turned left.

Every step I took was 1 step away from home, but I said "just to the first streetlight, that's not too far". When I reached that light I said, "just to that park a block away, then you can turn around and go home". Each time I pushed myself to go just a little further, I felt a victory and that lead me to push further.

When I had gone 1/2 mile past the crossroads, I turned around and headed for home. Then I realized that every step I had taken away from home was actually 2 steps closer to my goal! I finished my run that night having met 100% of my distance goal, but perhaps more importantly, I had accomplished more mental training than I had set out to accomplish.

The more I thought about that run, the more I realized that in many ways, running is like living a Christian life. Sometimes, doing what Christ calls us to do is a bit uncomfortable. But every time we do something that moves us toward out Heavenly Father, even though we feel like we are going away from home, we are making progress towards out eternal reward. So the next time you are faced with the choice to just shrug off an off-color joke, or pass along some juicy gossip, or anything else the world sees as normal, consider whether the discomfort from appearing different is in fact training you for a bigger goal.

1 comments:

J~Mom said...

Whoa! Awesome post! I didn't see that twist coming at the end! Love the comparison!