Today, Sunday August 28, 2011, I find myself in an interesting place. I have come so far and have still so far to travel in all facets of life, spiritual, physical, relational, personal. Though the distance is daunting, it does not take away from RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW. So, I will embrace right now and briefly reflect– mostly the physical part but with everything else tied in.
I feel whole, complete. Yet, so many things could be said are missing… I am still trying to figure out how exactly that happens. I know why that is, it has everything to do with my Savior, but I’m just unsure of the inner-workings of it. Its a miracle.
Today, I biked to the ARC (the huge workout facility on the UIUC campus) and there, I biked 4.3 miles, ran 2 miles, did some core, lunges and walls sits. Then, I biked back to my apartment.
BAM, I did all that. If you would’ve known me back in high school you would’ve seen a basket-baller mentality. I was in an intense P.E. program called Athletic P.E. with Stark, to whom attribute a lot of my work ethic. I was always athletic, but put me to run distance, ha… I’d run the other way. No sir, not me. I was sure that I was not built for distance and as a result, I never did ran long distances. I never saw the need for it or the pleasure in it.
My freshman year of college was a disaster. In hindsight, it was a beautiful disaster, but a disaster nonetheless. I thought I had everything figured out. I was leaving going to leave this school and I had a boyfriend and I had a relationship with Jesus. I thought I was fine; so, I made no effort to do anything or meet anyone. I’m not kidding. My only friend was my roommate.
Then second semester came along and my roommate went back home, my boyfriend broke up with me– I didn’t realize it and I was not accepting it at all. Teen can attest to that– and my chances to transfer were getting slimmer by the day. Everything came crashing down at once. I wouldn’t say I was depressed, but I WAS destroyed. I was alone and I was mad, furious at God.
This is when you would expect that I pulled myself up from my bootstraps and made a change, but I did not. I moped… a lot. I cried…a lot. I slept… a lot. I had headaches…a lot (from crying). And I contemplated throwing my phone out the window more times than I can count. Summer came and I went home. There, I did some more of the same moping, crying and sleeping.
Then, in may, whilst in prayer, the Lord spoke* and it penetrated every fiber of my being. He spoke into my heart that, He must break everything within me to build me back up again. I had a choice though, I could resist it and stay in my misery in hope that I’d fall out of it or I could let Him work. I made a choice to let Him have it, every bone, every thought, every step. Since that day my life has not been the same.
I do not mention this purely to assure readers of my faith because that is not the point, I have nothing to prove. I mention this because that was the catalyst to my change and it defines how I look at exercise, at running, and at going to the gym. Call me crazy, but also call me real. This is the reality that I live in.
In my misery of freshman year, I had run to lose weight or went to the gym because I had nothing else to do. I never gained the freshman fifteen, but I my body was not really doing much of anything; it was just surviving. It was breathing and blaming.
When I had my encounter, it was an awakening of sorts. But, it was paradoxical in so many ways, and that made it all the more beautiful. I had just vowed to a sweet surrender that required me to take hold of my life. I gave up my rights and was granted a different kind of freedom. I learned that the hope I had placed on my schooling, my boyfriend, and my friends was false. Not a single one of those things were created to carry the weight of my being, of my living. So, I made a choice. I was going to be intentional, I was going be purposeful and I was going to place my life in an constant God.
How does that relate to my running? It matters because I had a change of mentality. We’ve all heard it, “Running is ninety percent mental and ten percent physical”. I was different, everything inside of me was changed.
I run now because I am free to run. I run because I enjoy to run. I run because I love to be sore because it reminds me of how things must be broken to be rebuilt. I run because it is something I can improve in. I run because I process things as each step strikes the pavement. I run because it allows me to asses my thoughts and my feelings. I run because I know that there is no such thing as standing still. I run because the pressures of this life are too strong that I’m either going forward or moving backward; there is no in-between. I run because it relates to life. I run because right now, although I am sitting on a couch, I am running a race to gain a crown better than any crown, better than I can comprehend.
So now I am here in my Junior year of College having run a marathon relay (6.9 miles) and contemplating competing in a Triathlon in October. How have I managed to become a “runner”? I am not really sure what that really means or if I am there yet, but I what I did was myself of preconceived notions. I took a good look around me and saw that my life depended on the choices I made, be it: physical, emotional, spiritual, or relational. When I embraced that, I began to work at it (in a literal sense). I clung to the truth that my identify shouldn’t rest on other people and I just ran with it, literally.
* Not audibly