As for me, I started 2011 by achieving one of my 100 life goals; I completed a 5K race. I combined running and walking to finish the 3.1 course, and I have to be honest with myself and with you: I am excited! I know I didn’t finish in record time, I know that I walked more than I ran, I know that my body aches, and that I have a long way to go before I reach my goal of running a marathon before the age of 30. However, I also know that simply showing up and completing the course was a huge accomplishment for me.
I have always been overweight, and in 2008 I dropped 80 pounds, some of which I gained back. Even after losing that amount, I was (and still am) overweight for my height. I come from a family of big people, who happen to be big eaters as well. But regardless of my genealogy and build, I did something I didn’t think I had the courage to do today, and I honestly think this is the start of something.
As I was run/walking the course today, I was passed up by people who were older than me, younger than me, heavier than me, and much skinnier than me. My flesh wanted to feel sorry, and get irritated at the fact that at 27 I couldn’t keep up with an 80 year old woman. But you know what? She was running a race that was all hers, and I was running one that was mine. The whole concept of running MY race really dawned on me today when I was literally doing it: I couldn’t do what others were doing because I simply wasn’t supposed to! I was supposed to show up today and run Danielle’s race (in the pouring down rain, might I add) and that’s exactly what I did. I admire the people who lapped me, and who finished in less time than it takes me to brush my teeth; I really do! My hope is that as I progress and get stronger, I can run (MY OWN RACE) with endurance like them.
And that’s another fun lesson I learned today. As I relaxed on my couch, fully ready to take a nap that has to this hour still not happened, I started looking up marathon training plans and running tips. I slowly became a little deflated when I continually read people’s laments about the pain that comes with running, and after a while my flesh did not like what I was reading. Then a question popped in my head, that makes me smile now: Why do these people still run?
Why? Why put yourself in that painful situation? Why push your body to limits unthinkable for a t-shirt and a trophy? Why spend hours of training and running as your body suffers damage that only be repaired by rest? Why show up? And then God answered my milieu of questions with this intriguing truth:
It’s not about avoiding the pain that comes with life; it’s about finding a way to endure the pain that will inevitably come in life.
I have spent 27 years avoiding pain. Honestly. Think about it. I have avoided a lot of situations because I thought it would enable me to escape pain, but in reality I have just been experiencing a different kind. For example, you don’t go on dates because you don’t want experience rejection. Sound logical? However, you end up feeling the pain of loneliness and unmet desire. Trading one for the other….
So, as I push my body past physical limits this year (Atlanta Marathon in October!!!), I am encouraged to also push my heart a little further as well. I don’t want to fool myself anymore; I am holding out, and in essence that’s not symbolic of trusting God. It’s time to stop avoiding pain, and find out how to run with endurance in all areas of my life.