Today, I start running. To train for a marathon. On February 16th, 2020.
I have a long and sordid history with running. Mostly, I haven’t liked it. And when I have, it’s been for all the wrong reasons.
I like to play sports. Kickball. Softball. Bowling. Ones that require a small amount of running and in spurts. I like running 60 yards or less at any given time. I got mad at myself when I got a double because it meant more running.
In softball, we still had to run laps. I was always near the end. Also, I looked like this:
There’s been a few times in my life when I “got into running”:
- When I lived in West Africa, the heat was ridiculous, and shorts were highly offensive, I ran daily in the name of losing weight
- After I left Africa and returned to my home in South Texas where it was 100 degrees AND 105% humidity, I ran at 4pm daily in the name of I-must-lose-all-the-weight-now
- The Year I was Engaged – I ran religiously at Gold’s Gym after work in the name of Wedding Dress
- Post Anorexia Residential Treatment in the name of shit-I-gained-10-pounds-and-can’t-gain-more. This was when I ran an accidental half-marathon one day.
As you can see, my desire to run has been tied to pretty disordered crap in the past (including The Year I was Engaged because that was still society’s stupid brainwashing that women are supposed to lose weight to “look good” on their wedding day).
I haven’t run since last September. I couldn’t separate running (or much of any exercise) with letting my mind and maybe my body start wandering back into those dark places.
I did find an amazing program called Mommastrong (no relation to yours truly), which has been the only true movement I’ve found that challenges me in only the right ways. I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to exercise to be strong and powerful in just 15 minutes a day for $5 a month, especially if you have little animals and humans that try to accompany your movement time!
Then, while visiting churches recently, I found one that is checking all my boxes. By that, I mean these people are in it for God and not for themselves. I could go on and on about the authenticity, the genuine welcoming, the abundant way they seek to serve the community and not just sit in a church service. After my first visit, I did the Matthew 25 Challenge with the church, where I took actions all week to identify with those who live in impoverished places.
At the end of the second service, I left ready to run the Austin 2020 marathon.
Why? Because we are running to raise money for clean water for people that don’t have it. These people, many just CHILDREN, walk miles each day to get DIRTY water that only ends up making them sick. I’m running so they don’t have to.
I really am.
I am praying daily that God protects my motivation so that my running stays in tune with helping these others and making His name known. As I run, I listen to my worship music and pray. As I run, I depend on Him for strength.