This coming Saturday I'll be running my 3rd half marathon. I'm really excited about it and am ready to push myself to reach my goal time of 2 hours. I'm about 7 minutes behind that pace right now, so I'm hoping that some adrenaline kicks in to help carry me to that goal.
I think I can call myself a "runner" now. A competitive runner? No. But, someone who enjoys running? Yes. I did a 12 mile training run Sunday afternoon and am fairly sore today, but, as they say ... it's a good kind of sore ... a soreness that comes from a feeling of accomplishment.
I'm fairly new to running. I didn't really start it seriously until 2009. But, I'm pretty well hooked on it now and I think that running has taught me quite a bit about life in general. Here are a few random things I've learned:
The Example Goes a Long Way
The picture below is of my son, Ezra. He will often ask if he can go on a run with me. He turns 5 this week and I've been able to take him out on a couple of different 1-mile runs with me and they've been so much fun! My entire family sees me do this and I enjoy being able to set the example for them in this area. As the husband and dad, I want the responsibility of setting and example for my family. It's important for us, as men, not to run away from that but to embrace it. It's our job to set the pace for our families.
I had the opportunity to run a marathon in 2010. I remember during the training for it, some miles definitely felt longer than others. Some days I'd feel great while running and other days were really difficult. On those hard days I would keep telling myself "Just go forward. One step in front of the other. Just keep moving." Life will often throw things at us that are difficult to handle. We have the option to stop and crumble or to keep moving forward. I think running has taught me to keep moving even when I feel like stopping.
It Doesn't Just Happen
When I started running in 2009, I was severely overweight. I knew it was time to drop some pounds and get back to being healthy. What I also knew was that losing weight, no matter how much I WANTED it to happen wasn't just going to happen. I needed to be intentional about it. I needed a plan, goals, and the willingness to put it all in to action. Things in life typically "don't just happen." We put ourselves on paths that will always lead somewhere. Every path has a destination. Is your path taking you where you want to eventually end up?
I ran my first half marathon in 2009 and was beginning to train for a marathon in the fall of 2009 when I began to develop an "overuse" injury called IT Band syndrome. It's a tightening of the "illio-tibial" facia that runs on the outside of the legs from the hip to the tip of the fibula. I had therapy, injections, ultrasound, rest ... nothing was helping. I eventually had to have surgery to repair it. It was set back. I had to take a few months off. Setbacks will happen, but trying to learn from them and not give up on the ultimate goal will take us far. The next year, I succeeded in finishing my first marathon.
On a run, the moment you begin to allow negative thoughts of being tired or sore enter your mind, you have a choice. Will you continue to focus on those things or will you replace them with something positive? I was in a conversation with my wife a couple of weeks ago and in that conversation I had mentioned a few negative things about myself ... well, more than a few. I had said enough things that it caused my wife to say "Stop talking so negatively about yourself. Why are you feeling the need to do that?" I believe Satan tries to pour negativity in to us. And, it's not enough to simply not think about it ... you have to replace the negative with something positive. It's a weed and feed principle ... weed out the negative, feed the positive. Since that conversation with my wife, I have tried to weed out the negative thoughts that so easily enter my mind and replace them with truth from God's word. It's been a good practice for me over the past couple of weeks.
It's Fun Together
I enjoy running alone. It's a good time for me to get away. But, I also enjoy running with others. When running with others, you have someone that helps push you and motivate you to do your best. The picture below is of our team running a Tough Mudder this past November. We trained together for it and helped keep each other accountable. Accountability is key. Who is the one asking you the difficult questions? Who is the one that going to encourage you but also challenge you? Life together is so much better than life alone.
Just a few random thoughts. Running has been on my mind since I have the Indy Mini coming up this weekend. Whether it's running, biking, weight lifting, whatever ... physical exercise can teach us a lot about life in general and just makes us better people.