I run for many reasons, none of which include “winning” or “beating” anyone. I’m not fast. Never have been. I can hold my own with the average Joes and I’m ok with that. The farthest I have run is 13.1 miles (a half marathon) and I’m ok with that too!
More important than time, distance, first place or last, is the enjoyment I get from going on a run. As a wife, mother, teacher, and homemaker, my moments of alone time are few and far between – lets be real here – I can’t even remember the last time I went to the bathroom in my own home by myself. I’ll be honest about something else too; some days even my need for alone time is not enough motivation to get out for a run. I tend to be a fair weather runner, but my hubby is a great cheerleader – “You’ll feel better once you go.” Or “It’s just a little rain.” I don’t always appreciate that push in the moment, but I know I need it.
When I run I do it for me; for my health, my fitness, my sanity. However, I also do it because I know there are those out there who can’t. I do it because I owe it to them to make use of the fully intact and working heart, lungs, and legs God gave me. In fact, being outside running is one of the places I feel closest to God. I can’t say that my head is always quiet at the start of a run; usually it’s racing thinking of the never-ending list of things I need to do. Meal planning, grocery shopping, dishes, laundry, unpacking boxes (from when we moved 6 months ago), painting, tending the flowers, playing with the kids, doing my devotions. Often at the beginning of a run, I start out beating myself up about all the things I’ m not doing correct, all the things for which I’m not good enough. As I run, pumping my legs, my lungs burning, my worry and anxiety dissipates. All the things that were buzzing around in my head become quieter and the rain I was dreading becomes a gift. Sometimes I am so overcome with gratitude, I feel the urge to lift my face to the sky and throw my hands in the air out of sheer thanks and praise for the life I have been given…sometimes I even act on this urge.
Call it a runner’s high if you like, but I call it a gift and that’s what I run for – that moment of pure peace, gratitude, and connection to God. That’s what I run for.