Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Why I Love Running

For the past ten years, I have enjoyed running. In the last two years or so, it has become a passion. Specifically, that is the time that I began training for my 10k, my first "real" run with goals and milestones. I am grateful to the friend who inspired me to do this and helped me take my running up a notch.

However, my career in running has not been without conflict; everything from having to leave my family at less-than-opportune times, to waking up at the break of dawn to sneak out the door, to hearing, "Just don't devote too much of your life to it [running]." I suppose you could say there have been times when I have doubted my passion for running. Was it worthy? Was it vain? Was it something I should give up after having kids?

Yes, No, and No.

I have always said that the benefits of exercise carry over into every other aspect of my life, and running has been the epitome of this for me. When I exercise, all of my faculties are awakened. My senses are heightened. My mood is lifted. My thoughts are elevated, along with my energy level, and I bring that energy home with me. I can push myself to the top of a hill and simultaneously tackle a problem that has been weighing heavily on me all day. I feel lighter both physically and emotionally. There are so many life lessons to be learned from running.

When I run, I feel closer to God. I am able to communicate with Him and better appreciate the body and physical strength He has blessed me with. I can watch the sunrise and see His thumbprint in nature all around me. Taking a step back from my own life, I can hear children playing in their yards and better appreciate my own children (despite all the work they require of me.) Let me quote a passage I recently read in The Purpose Driven Life:

"I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast, and when I run, I feel God's pleasure... To give up running would be to hold him in contempt" -Olympic runner Eric Liddell in "Chariots of Fire"

There are no unspiritual abilities, just misused ones.
-Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life

So yes, running is spiritual, and it is worthy.

Running affects my mind. No matter how stressful the day, or moment, if I know I have a run to look forward to, it all seems to be manageable. It gives me the motivation to keep. moving. forward. And while dieting alone may seem an insurmountable challenge, when I am running, I naturally want to eat lighter and healthier and fuel my body properly. It's a win-win situation.

We all have those internal goals, places we're headed in life based on hopes, dreams, and visions. Well, running has always been one of those goals for me. For years, I have always looked at running as a sign of freedom, if you will, after having my children. I knew it would be something I would do well past my childbearing years, and that time is here. The door is opening. As daunting as it may now seem, training for my first half-marathon is a goal I am eagerly anticipating. And once I start, there will be nothing to stop me- not pregnancy, not morning sickness, not the postpartum period- none of it.

Perhaps the best part is knowing that I am influencing my kids. Ashlee was designed very much in the same way as me, with the same innate desire to eat healthy, get her body moving, and thrive, and it has been very rewarding to see her push herself, go out running on her own, and complete her first 5K. I very much look forward to the day when we will be running a marathon together (and for what it's worth, she'll probably finish ahead of me.)

I believe anything you do and gain pleasure from, that uses your God-given talents and abilities, gives God pleasure as well. Some craft or decorate, build or invent... I run. It's not much, and I don't profess to be extraordinary by any means, but it gives me pleasure and affects my life in positive ways. So yes it's worthy, and it's worth it. Oh, how I miss it.


  1. This should be in a fitness magazine, or a Christian fitness magazine. You write SO well and you probably just sat down and took a few minutes to do this, and it is perfect! This certainly puts a spin on running that I hadn't thought too much about. I remember reading "The Purpose Driven Life" a long time ago-good book, don't you think?!

  2. Thank you Roxanne for the generous compliment. Yes, the book is awesome. I try to read a little bit of it every day.

  3. Amen sister!!! Maybe one day we will be running buddies :) I love how you wrote this. It rings so true to me. You have a way with writing - I love it. And I love running to!!