I wrote this about 8 months ago, but never published it. I am publishing it now because I just had a successful run, I am transferring wasting time on facebook to wasting time on Blogger, and I want to encourage a few of my friends out there who have recently taken up running or are reinvigorating their enthusiasm for such a task.
Conditioning was always my least favorite part about playing basketball and tennis as a teenager. Endurance running particularly left me daydreaming about becoming an eternal coach potato. When I would go to a track to run, I used to look at the rubbery red sphere and scream internally. The cylindrical torture path seemed so large to me. How could I possibly run around it even four times? The feat seemed too painful and too difficult for me to accomplish on my own.
Fast-forward to my late 20's and after two babies I am running over two miles faster than I did when I was in shape as a teenager. I'm at least twenty pounds heavier and have had two major surgeries. So how is this possible? Did I magically become faster throughout the years?
The missing component in my life as a teenager versus ten years later: suffering. Long-suffering. I had a carefree childhood. The biggest troubles I faced before becoming an adult was a boy friend breaking up with me or not making a traveling team. Anything that I ever needed was given to me and almost anything I wanted was given to me as well.
I am still mostly out of shape from my last pregnancy, so after about two laps around the track I start to feel my body revolting from the discipline. When I was a teenager, my internal dialogue would have started screaming, "Stop! You should walk! You can't do this, just quit."
But after 18 months of pregnancy (non-consecutively), 17 months of nursing (and counting), and Noah's near-death experience, I realize the burning in my legs and my lungs doesn't feel too bad after all. My runs only lasts 30 minutes at this point anyway. That's nothing compared to the physiological difficulties I've faced since I was twenty-five.
As I continue to run and push myself towards higher goals of fitness, I begin to realize how for so much of my life I have been so very weak. I certainly don't come across as a weak person, but not even desiring to run a mile as a teenager says something about my character. Certainly lots of people run or ride bikes or train for triatholons. They aren't perfect people and they have weaknesses like the rest of us. But desiring to train for endurance events does show a certain degree of strength that us common-folk do not possess.
Life is an endurance run. I started off slow, but as the Lord is sanctifying me through suffering (and other devices), I keep going and gain in speed. None of us desire to suffer, but the fruit of suffering is palpable.
Fast forward to April 19th, 2012:
I am now running 3-5 miles at a time. When I run shorter distances, I can run a mile in 9 minutes. When I run longer distances, well, I don't have to tell you that my mile times get slower and slower as I go. My mind-mantra during my run today (it was a tough run as it had been a while and I was just getting over a cold) was, "Does this hurt as much as your C-section recovery? No? Then keep going! You can stop when it hurts that much." Thankfully, it never hurt that much.