So what has possessed me to to start running? I can tell you it is not a sudden urge to join a marathon or find my twenties. I am not having a mid-life crisis and there is no new love to impress.
I am learning the ‘joys’ of running as a way to encourage my daughter to keep up her running regime now that her Cross Country season is over. She is much better at this than I am as she has had two seasons to learn how to run longer distances and has spent the last 12 weeks working out every day. Life lesson coming ahead – even those who are more experienced or seasoned still need encouragement from time-to-time.
While I am doing my best to be an encouragement to her and not an anchor that she has to worry about putting CPR into practice over, I am learning a few things about running that apply to life:
- It is easy to be energetic and passionate during those first few steps. I can run with the best of them for about 10 steps.
- It can be very tempting to give up when you realize this ‘run’ is work and is getting harder than it was at the beginning. After about 2 tenths of a mile, I am trying to figure out where I coughed up my lung. It would be so much easier to stop running, lay down on the ground, and call 911 for emergency oxygen than to take one more step.
- Picking milestones helps to break up the bigger run and keeps my spirits up. I have to pick a point about 10 yards ahead and say, “I can make it that far”, and then set the next 10 yard mark after I attain that goal. If I thought about the mile mark when I was still in the first quarter mile, it would be too easy to be overwhelmed at what I am trying to accomplish.
- Keeping a record of how I am progressing from day-to-day, gives me perspective into how I am growing. Setting up some ‘Ebenezer Stones’ called statistics lets me know where I was yesterday, where I am at today, and where I can be tomorrow.
These are some early lessons that I have learned as I have just started on this course of action. I may gain some more insight if I survive the next couple of weeks and I may even post some statistics once I have enough to tell a story.
Our church got involved with the Rescue Event this past weekend in order to raise awareness about the Invisible Children (Joseph Kony’s child soldiers). The event started at 3pm at the Ohio State campus and included a march of about 2 to 3 miles to an open field where those involved would spend the night under the stars. This was a symbolic act that represented the forced march that the children abducted by Joseph Kony would have to endure.
When I say our church, I mean our youth in the 7-12 grades and some adults that were necessary to chaperon them. The leadership decided that a more representative march could be realized if we all started from the church and walked to the event. That is an 18 mile walk that had to be completed by 3pm.
We started at about 8:40am which means we had to average close to 3 mph if we were to reach the event in time. That is a tough pace to keep up for 6 hours.
I was very proud of all those involved because they DID it! At a cost. I don’t know if anyone escaped blisters, sun burns(87 degree sunny day), and aching muscles. And that was just in the first 18 miles. We had an hour break to rest up once we got to the actual event before making the last 2-3 mile trek around the campus of Ohio State. That has got to be one of the longest 2-3 miles any of those involved ever walked.
Our ending point was a soccer field where we would all sleep beneath the open sky. I can’t speak for everyone, but that was a rough night of trying to sleep. Imagine waking up lying on wet grass and its cold enough to see your breath. That happened around 1am – after finally falling asleep around midnight. That was kind of depressing because at that point sleep seemed impossible and morning was an eternity away.
This thought kept going through my mind during the walk and during the long sleepless night…
I can check out anytime.
I had access to water and food anytime I needed it. I had adequate clothing and bedding for my 24 hour inconvenience. But the biggest difference between myself and those children in Uganda was that I had the ability to get on my phone and call my wife to come and get me anytime I was fed up with the experience.
I cannot imagine the hopelessness that those abducted children experience or the terror. I kept praying throughout the experience that God would comfort those children and bring hope to their lives that no matter what they had been forced to do that they could always return home.
One last thought before signing off. Here are 6 P’s that I compiled while walking. These P’s can be applied to our Christian walks.
- Purpose: 70 people didn’t show up at 8am on a Saturday morning just out of the blue. They came together for a purpose that provided focus for the hours ahead.
- Preparation: Its great to have purpose but without some preparation it would have been impossible to realize the goal we had set. Imagine trying to make that walk in 87 degree weather without water or a good pair of tennis shoes.
- Participation: I know that there were some people who had good intentions about being part of the event. They were in agreement about the goal and they may have even made some preparations for the walk. But, they never showed up. They checked out before they ever began.
- Partnership: Imagine with me if only one person had showed up that Saturday morning for the long walk expecting that others would be there to share the journey. They may have been so disillusioned that they would have just turned around and gone home. Paul had Barnabas or Luke on his many rough travels. I wonder how he would have fared if he had tried to go it alone.
- Perseverance: I got to admit that there were times I wanted to check out during that long walk. The sun had burned every inch of my exposed skin, each step felt like it was being made barefooted in broken glass, and my muscles were aching from being pushed harder than they had in a long time. Here is the funny thing… it wasn’t the last few miles that were the hardest, it was the middle miles. I kept thinking about how much I hurt and how far I still had to go. It was very disheartening. I could hear Paul exhorting Timothy to continue in the walk, to strive for the prize. There were two miles that were pure torture for me but I wanted to keep going, to keep striving, to keep pushing toward the prize. One. Step. At. A. Time.
- Prayer: This last P was done in conjunction with all the others but it was especially important in persevering. AND… it was done on the behalf of other people.
Have you applied any of these to your life? I would love to hear about it.