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I am a Runner

I am a runner. 

Always have been. 

I love to push myself more than I think I can go. 

I love to put in headphones, turn my music up loud enough to where I can’t hear my breathing and run for miles until I can’t run anymore. 

The last few years since my original Race that part of me has been stifled in a big way. It’s been put to the side. There are a lot of different reasons that range from me preferring to run alone but it being unsafe in foreign countries as a woman all the way to just not having the physical or emotional capacity after weird hours of working with people across the world. The coming and going for weeks at a time has made it hard to maintain any type of rhythm and routine and running has been the first thing to fall to the side over the last few years. There have been moments where I’ve run and felt really good and then it’ll just dwindle away as other things come up. I also hurt my knee in a pretty huge way a few years ago and I was down for the count for quite some time. To this day it still bothers me a bit. 

So, when I decided not to mentor again this next year, in the midst of all of the grief and sadness that came with the decision, I immediately felt my soul stand at attention. 

I could let my runner come alive again. 

I can choose to live a life where I work normal hours and I don’t travel for weeks at a time. I can choose to create my life into what I want it to be. I can choose to make certain things a priority that have had to take the backburner because of my current reality. And don’t get me wrong: I LOVE my job. Everything about it. I love it. It’s why it was such a hard decision for me. But it has cost me some things over the last few years and I am feeling a whole lot of excitement for bringing those things back to life. 

My biggest dream for the next season of my life is to run a half marathon in the Fall. 13.1 miles. For the first time ever. To start off a new season in a really good way. I’ve even rallied some friends to join in. My dream is to live in a place where I am there for a long time. Long enough to establish rhythms and a way of life that is full of a whole lot of things that I love and that bring God glory and right now that looks like friends running a lot of miles with me. 

I haven’t officially started a training plan yet because here’s the thing. As someone who calls myself a runner, it’s not easy getting back to the heart of who I am. Having a few years of just kind of, sometimes running has really taken its toll. My legs are weak. My lungs are tight. My body hurts in places that it didn’t five years ago. My mental game isn’t as strong as it once was. I don’t give off the runner vibe like I used to. So I’m starting at ground zero. I’m running a few miles a few times a week. I’m trying to just simply remind my body what we are good at and what we like to do before I start really pushing it to something more than we’ve done. 

And I’m having to remind myself of this: whether it’s a perfect 6 mile run or whether it’s a terrible, pretty much walking 1 mile run, it’s still a run. That’s getting me closer to my goal of being a runner again. 

Today’s run: barely running 2 miles. 

Blaming it on the fact that there were more hills than normal. That it was a cold, rainy day instead of a warm spring day. Blaming it on the fact that I had Chick Fil A for lunch. Blaming it on my Spotify shuffle not playing good enough jamz. 

And maybe some of those factors were true. Especially the Chick Fil A. But sometimes it’s just that runs are a bit harder than the day before. Sometimes certain days are harder than others. Sometimes it just feels like an accomplishment to get out of bed when the day before you conquered the world by the time it was lunch time. And we could blame it on all the circumstances surrounding us or we could own up to the fact that it was just hard. 

We keep pressing on toward the goal. Philippians 3. It’s always a working towards. We will never reach perfection. We will have days that feel like the worst and some that feel like the best. And thankfully if today was rough, we get to wake up and try it again tomorrow. 

Last week I had some really great runs where I felt like I could have gone on forever and ever amen. But today it felt good to just keep one foot in front of the other. 

And that’s okay. 

Because those hard runs are where the strength is actually being built. I could have stopped and walked it all. I could have gone back to my car and decided to just watch a movie or take a nap. Instead, I chose to press on toward the goal. To keep going. To say nicer things to myself instead of telling myself how much these last few years have worn me down. 

And that’s what this is all about. Choosing to keep going even when we don’t want to. 

Life is weird right now. We are in unprecedented times. Some people are forced to stay at home while others of us are having to actually choose it. 

Wherever you are, do something that brings you life. That connects you back to your humanity. That reminds you that you can do hard things. That you can push yourself further than you think. That you will make it through this.