Friday, May 01, 2009

Sprinting through the Tulips

Last night I went running. I like to run. Or at least I used to.

I hated running in elementary school when they introduced the Presidential Fitness Award and all fifth graders had to run a mile in under twelve minutes. I hated running then.

I hated running in seventh grade athletics. By default, if you couldn't make any sports teams prior to track season, you ran track. By default, if you weren't really fast you ran the mile. I was on the seventh grade track team. I ran the 1600. That's the mile for all you non-track people.

When I was in high school, I was on the dance team. I pushed my body to physical limits I had never before endured. I liked it. I didn't choose it. My coach was tough. But I learned from it.

My freshman year of college, I gained the freshman fifteen. My junior year of college I lost it. By running.

I learned to love running. Not really because I loved running but because I loved the effects of physical fitness. I love feeling strong.

My first year post-college I worked a fulltime job in a highly stressful situation. Every single day after work I ran. Sixty-five minutes of my time. Way before cell phones or ipods, I made a cassette tape of my very favorite praise songs. Toes touching the pavement, Sony Walkman blaring, my cares literally dissolved. Crying out to God here was good. Easy. He seemed to answer me there. Running. Many battles were fought on that sixty-five minute course. All of them won.

Running came to be a place where I could go to be alone. With God.

Gasping for air made trivial issues take a backseat to deep rooted motivations and issues. Once made clear, the obvious could be resolved. Easily.

I used to love running.

Four babies and pushing a weight range I do not wish to be a part of without another human in my tummy has inspired me to want to love running. Last night was the first night I've done something about it.

I went running. Just me, my ipod and my little skater girl.

I lasted twenty-six minutes. It was a glorious run. Skater girl rollerskated about twenty feet in front of me urging me onward. A constant reminder of the legacy I want to leave.

As we rounded the corner close to home, we slowed to a walk. At just that moment we inhaled the most glorious fragrant flowers. We stopped and walked back and forth in front of the blooming vine for a minute hands laced together, breathing deeply savoring the moment. She giggling with delight. Me etching the moment in my mind, searing it onto my heart forever.
The fragrance of spring filling us with a fresh burst of energy, I did something I've never done before during a run. Not even in my prime fifteen years ago. Never.

I started running again sprinting toward the finish line. I'm a steady runner. Keeping a good pace is my strength. Holding correct form, counting cadence in my head, breathing in rhythm with my prayers. That's what kind of runner I am.

Last night I found the energy and strength to sprint to the finish. Last night after years of not running. Last night I realized something. I started my run last night thinking twenty-six minutes was the longest I had run in several years. I wanted running to better prepare me for life. I finished last night thinking life had prepared me for running.

Suddenly enduring twenty-six minutes didn't seem so long. Compared to enduring nine months of endless nausea, years of very little sleep, hard times in marriage, bleak times financially, dry times spiritually, the list of what I've endured since I last pounded the pavement is endless.

This endurance prepared me for twenty-six minutes last night. Twenty-six minutes. What I learned is invaluable.

I don't just want to endure to the finish line, I want to finish strong.

And that includes stopping to smell the flowers.
"All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You're after one that's gold eternally." 1 Corinthians 9:25


Renee said...

I really hate running! And I'm so out of shape now that I can barely hoof it up the stairs. What I do love about running is those that do it seem to have a total committment about it. It reminds me of the videos you see of people running and things are flying off of them while they run. Running seems to make things fall off faster than just walking.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2

Keep running!

Billy Coffey said...

I'm so like you. I used to hate to run. That Presidential Fitness Award? That run did me in every time. Now, I run almost every day.

We all have to run the race, whether we want to or not. But it's the love of God that equips and strengthens us to finish strong.

Loved this post!

marina said...

I have always wanted to run like that and I can't seem too hold out "(
but I am so happy for you :)
I can't believe these either schools close a whole week what is next? marina

Kathryn Taylor said...

I am so proud of you! Running, like life, is tough, but it's refreshing, too. Running always gives me life-giving energy and a fresh perspective on life.

How wonderful to share that with your daughter!

Unknown said...

Hey, Lisa! I'm cheering for you! I just recently started running again too after a few months break. I understand that feeling of being alone with God during that time. For the longest, it was the only time I really had to myself. I needed a little break, but now that I'm back to it, I'm remembering how precious this time is to me.

You go, girl!

Proud of you :)

Sandy @ The Scoop on Balance said...

Gasp...we ARE sisters. I swear. You wrote my heart. Though I hate to run...just insert "walking" wherever "running" appears...and that's my heart.


Love you!