I’ve never been a runner. Never been athletic. 10-year-old Nicole struggled to complete a mile when attempting to run around the outside track located near her apartment complex.
I think she made it to half a mile and had to walk.
As an overweight child, I leaned more towards leisurely reading then working up a sweat by participating in some sport consisting of 2 teams and a ball. It took me a few years to try my hands at bouncing that ball down the court, but even then it didn’t stick.
And it’s not that I wasn’t competitive. No, quite the contrary actually. I’ve always had heart and a competitive spirit. It’s just that as a child that competitiveness shined through more with academic challenges. Remember that math game “24”? When you had to figure out how to make 24 out of the four numbers listed on the card? I was excellent at that game and always made it to the finals in class :-).
Given my non-athletic history I am rather shocked at this love I now have for running. Now my mom was a runner, but she was a sprinter and that might as well be as far fetched for me as marrying Channing Tatum (darn, he’s already taken). She was so fast in fact, that she competed in state championships in high school (my mom is so cool). However, this passion I have, was clearly not inherited, otherwise I would be able run at least 6 min. miles instead of the more realistic 12 (I actually can whip out a 10 min. miler but don’t expect much from me after). I’m more about endurance than speed and physically running with endurance has been a great picture of this Christian walk for me.
A distance runner has the unique ability to go the distance. They zone out everything around them and have super tunnel vision (focus and discipline). Their mind is made up on making it to the finish line no matter what (determination and drive). They can do the same thing over and over and over again for hours at a time (relentlessness and perserverance).
I have friends who are athletic, friends who have completed triath-a-lons and various athletic races, however they have still struggled with running the distance. That is b/c these friends, although competitive, and driven, and goal oriented, have lacked the runner’s heart. They have heart, lots of heart, but not necessarily the runner’s heart.
The runner’s heart thrives off of the run. Even if the runner has a bad run, they just keep coming back. The endorphins kick in and they are on a high. Like I said, I never would have put myself in this category however I’ve been running quite consistently for the last 3 years. I’ve participated in several different races, the longest of which was a half marathon last year. I would go to work all day, go to class all night and then run 2 hours on the treadmill. I used to look at “treadmill people” like they were crazy. How can someone possibly run in place for hours at a time and go nowhere?!? “Don’t you people realize you’re going nowhere?!”, I wanted to shout at them…
Now I understand.
As of late I have not hit the distances I used to. A hectic schedule shifts one’s priorities around, but no matter how long it’s been between runs, when I lace up my tennis and my feet hit the pavement, my body responds. It’s as if my legs have been waiting for this moment because I fall into my familiar stride and every muscle feels strong.
This morning’s run was beautiful. I wasn’t able to listen to music b/c my ipod is on the fritz (don’t worry folks, I already have my appointment with Apple lined up) so I was forced to depend on the world around me for inspiration.
The world did not let me down.
The weather was just right and I knew this run was going to be one I would want to put into my pocket and keep forever. As I enjoyed the 6:30 am late summer breeze, my mind worked out the various worries I had been holding on to. My heart sought its Maker and I pictured His angels at my side. They wear running shoes too :-). Before I knew it I had made it over the bridge and even managed to smile at fellow runners crossing my path (I always used to marvel at people who could simultaneously run and smile). The walk home was my reward along with the satisfaction in completing my goal. That familiar feeling of accomplishment walked all the way home with me. We parted ways once I reached the steps to my house. I’m confident we will reunite the next time my feet hit the pavement.