>My Great Wall of Running

>Aaron will be calling me soon on Skype, but until then let me tell you about my Great Wall of Running. I feel like I’ve really accomplished something, akin to getting an A in Calc 2 at Bradley or finally mastering Debussy’s Clair de Lune.

I am getting ready for my very first 10K next Saturday at the Morton Pumpkin Festival. What a great way to kick off the season, right? (Actually for me, a fellow Pekinite, the Marigold Festival is really where it’s at, haha.) The race is 6.2 miles on a fairly flat road. At least that’s the description on the website.

I have been so incredibly motivated to train for this thing. I think about a month ago I decided to sign up, thinking I would still be here. And oh look, I am. I had stopped doing Hal Higdon’s half marathon training for whatever reason. It was probably starting my new job that threw things out of whack. Now I’m kind of going off my own training with the advice of many running resources and my military husband who does this as part of his job.

I posted on a different site a couple months ago about how I was gearing up for a long run of four miles. Well, friends, four miles now is a standard maintenance run for me. I never ever thought in all of my earthly life I would run that far. At the same time. Ever. I hated the one measly semester of gym in high school. I wanted to be on track, but couldn’t because of work and watching my sisters. So, for a long long time I felt like my somewhere-down-deep desire to be a runner was not grounded in anything tangible.

So. I have run five miles without stopping, twice. I have run many four milers and a few 4.5-milers. I have not yet run six miles, but since I have done many hilly courses around this side of P-town, I feel like if I slow down my pace a little bit (right now average for longer runs is 10:30) I can git. R. Dun. Most of the time when I cross my invisible finish line (usually the sign to my street) I feel like I could go further.

Except for this morning. Admittedly, I ate so horribly yesterday. Tons of sugar and simple carbs. Yuck. And I didn’t drink enough water. And with getting less than six hours of solid sleep, I felt all of that and more! I felt nauseous probably 2/3 of my run this morning.

But you know what? I got my pretty little tush out of bed and ran. And I did my best time ever for a three-miler – 29:28! With the hilly course I was doing, it averaged out to a 9:42 mile. It goes to show that you don’t necessarily have to be in tip-top physical condition at the moment to have a good run. Then I worked for 8.5 hours, then to small group, then hung out with Amelia, then home. Now I’m here, blabbing incessantly to you all in Cyberland. And I had a great day, all because I pushed myself to lace up my shoes this morning.

So now, I can say I’ve run in the rain, when I’ve been nauseous, up a crazy hill at Detweiller a mile long (with my friend Gabriela!), when I’ve had a cold (never run when it’s something more severe though!), when I’ve had side stitches, when I’ve been at 4000 feet, when my muscles were sore from Body Pump, when it’s been 85* out with a heat index of 94* at 8:30 pm. As my dad would say, “What do you want, a medal?”

I’m saying all that to say that I’ve broken down this wall like the walls of Jericho. Bam. Splat. Gone! I can now call myself a “runner”. I can identify with that group of people. I love races because I love being connected by this one hobby, or mindset of life, to possibly hundreds of people I don’t know.

I remember the pride I felt one day after I had changed into my running gear and was leaving work when one of my coworkers said, “So, you’re a runner?” And I said, “Yes I am.”

One of my absolute favorite things is running to my playlist called “my body is a temple”. I have nixed all music that is not spiritually motivating to me when I’m running. Being centered around the Lord helps me remember why I do what I do. It’s not for the accolades of races or the impressed “oh wow”s of friends. It’s for my health – spiritual, mental, physical and emotional. It’s so I can be in the best shape I can be for accomplishing the purpose that is meant for my life.

Being disciplined in this way helps me stay disciplined in many other spiritual areas of life. There’s come a point where I’ve almost raised my hand in the air to praise the Lord while running down University! I just get a surge of energy and, well, life, when I realize how beautifully and carefully our bodies are formed. How well they withstand stress. How every system works in sync with one another to make us capable of so much. The human body is probably the most beautiful piece of art ever created.

I love getting people excited about running. And if the particular person can’t run, then I’m happy to get them excited about fitness in general. It’s a passion!