Bataan Training: Week 3 :: Running is spiritual

Thanksgiving was this week, if you can remember through your turkey and pumpkin pie comas. A total of 13 miles were run, which is definitely not spectacular; HOWEVER, I personally had two amazing runs, and that in my book beats running a couple more mediocre runs.

Wednesday I ran 5 miles on the treadmill at Soto Gym on  post. It was a progression run, which means that I got progressively faster as the run went on. I started out at an 11:00 pace and finished at a 9:13 pace with a final time of around 53:00. I. Felt. AWESOME. Like I conquered the world. If 5 miles is all it takes….

We were supposed to get up early-ish yesterday and run an 8-mile loop around the neighborhood. Well, in all laziness, we decided that we’d run today after church. Harvest Christian Center is on the west side, and is located among a few long roads with either sidewalks, a paved trail or a nice wide shoulder that connects with Transmountain Road.

These photos do not even do it justice. At the bottom of the mountain you’re at about 4,000 ft, and climb to 5,280 at the top of the road. There are still 2,000-3,000 feet to go as the peak is about 8,000 I believe. Anyway, since I forgot to take my camera today, this will have to suffice.

Our climb was about 554 feet over four miles. It was a nice, slow, gradual incline. On the way up, we had views of the bluest sky I’ve ever seen (maybe it just looks so blue because of all the desert deadness flora and fauna). We could also see Transmountain Road stretching out before us, cars speeding past at 60+ mph. We had a wide bike lane, though, so I felt pretty safe. I also ran on the rocky shoulder of the bike lane since Bataan will be rocky in some places.

I never liked hill training before we got here. Now, I don’t have a choice. I wish I could describe to you the exhilaration of coming down the mountain. Sure, you’ve sped down a hill on your bicycle, or ridden a roller coaster. But until you’ve propelled your own body with your own feet and your own strength, there’s no comparison (though I’ve been told skydiving is quite a rush…..) Now imagine that with uninterrupted views of Texas, Mexico and New Mexico and you’ve got it made. Ahhh. It was perfect.

At mile 7, I fell. On concrete. I must have tripped over a crack or something… but it hurt. I almost started crying. It’s been quite awhile since I skinned my knee. Aaron was already a little ahead of me since I gave him the OK to kill the last mile. He stopped, came back to help me up and I told him to GO! So he did, and I finished out my last mile really strong.

It was an amazing run.

I was thinking about this blog pretty much the whole time I was running. Running is spiritual. I don’t mean in some weird new-agey way… though it may sound that way to some.

When I run, long distances especially, I am completely aware of all my physical failings. My chest hurts, my lungs burn, and my legs feel stiff. Going up inclines only exacerbates these symptoms. But I also am paradoxically aware of how fearfully and wonderfully we are made. I know that we are made, by an all-loving Creator. In case you’re wondering, yes, I’ve been on the other side, weighing  evolution and its plausibility. I never used to think science and the Bible could go together, much less complement one another so perfectly.

Something that stuck with me from a podcast is that the world is always going from order to chaos, not the other way around. Even in science, order does not come from chaos. If you let your yard grow and grow, it becomes chaotic with weeds and unruly grass. If you let yourself eat whatever you want and never exercise, your body inside and out becomes chaotic. If you don’t manage a relationship, it gets chaotic and can possibly end. How does it make sense that order, meaning humans, plant life, animals, the food chain, the water cycle, everything could come from complete chaos?? It totally defies laws and theories of science, not to mention the principles of the Bible.

It’s totally amazing to me that our bodies even have the capacity to run long distances… the stress we can put on our bodies is amazing, and yet all our systems work together to sustain us. I’m no science expert, but I know that the skeletal, muscular, cardiovascular and many other systems have to work properly and in some sort of order to sustain movement and stress for that long. It’s incomprehensible to me every time I complete a long run. I guess that’s one reason I absolutely love long distances.

The other thing that makes running spiritual to me is the community of people it involves. People from all walks of life, races, backgrounds and ability levels can come together for one sole purpose (no pun intended). We wave at each other while running opposite directions, but it’s much more than a wave. It’s a mutual understanding of the time, preparation and physical sacrifice one makes.

I haven’t been posting things I’m thankful for every day in November, but I have a couple for you for today.

  • I’m thankful for my healthy body. This morning during service I was feeling my heart rate go all over the place and was a little worried about my run. But as the morning went on, I felt better and felt my best while running those eight miles!
  • I’m thankful for all of my running partners, ones I’ve met (Gabi, Regina, Karen) and ones I haven’t (Darcy in Germany and Natalie in Washington State). I have been so blessed to get to know these amazing ladies, and also blessed that they too love the Lord. It’s so amazing to share these parts of our lives. I hope to meet Darcy and Natalie and run with them someday, though they’d both probably leave me in the dust. 😉

I have so much more that I could write about concerning running and the Bataan Memorial Death March… but I’m going to carb up with turkey and noodle soup and ice cream. 🙂

2 thoughts on “Bataan Training: Week 3 :: Running is spiritual

  1. Hi. I just found your blog and I have a quick question. I recently got inspired to walk/jog/run (i’m working my way up lol) and I wanted to know how you got started? Why do you run?

    1. I started because my husband was leaving for Basic training and had to drop some weight first. After he left, I swore that I’d be able to run with him…. and two years later I ran my first marathon (April ’11). I run because I enjoy it, it keeps me fit and sane, and because I want to glorify the Lord with my body.

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