One week ago today, I started my running journey. To celebrate, I wore this new top today with word COURAGE repeated three times in three different colors to “Fuel the Wag” for me today. In seven short days I have experienced the different colors of running. There is the thrill of doing something that I have never done before. With that comes the unbridled energy that wants to do it all right now, skipping the necessary steps such as stretching and hydrating properly and pushing myself until it feels like my legs want to throw up for hours afterwards. I have experienced the fresh wind and sunshine, the vibrant colors all around me, and contemplating creation as I see all the different birds flying all around. Truth be told, however, when I see the hawks circling, I do check my pulse.
I had a bad day yesterday. My knee was catching and causing me pain at the slightest twist. I decided to let my legs loosen up throughout the day thinking an evening run might be better. Evening came and my son came out and showed me how to do his baseball stretches, which felt really good! Then he went the first mile with me. We ran two very short portions of the walk. My legs were screaming at me. Then the kittens started following us like puppies. I was worried with them on the road and even more worried that they were going to trip me as they wandered between my legs without notice.
I told my son to go ahead and go inside and I was going to do a couple more laps. I plugged my earbuds in and turned on Pandora, as I have been listening for encouraging words and phrases. Nothing. I walked into the house after an extra two laps and my husband asked how it went. “Pathetic,” I responded. And then I realized one of my mistakes tonight was that I didn’t feel like a runner. My friend has encouraged me to make it fun: chew gum, wear fun things, listen to fun music. I had no fun clothes on and I forgot my gum.
I reasoned with my husband how different this journey is for me. My intention for any kind of exercise in the past has been to lose weight. I watch my calories and weight numbers obsessively and end up getting discouraged and quitting. This time I decided that I was doing this for the health of it and to make my heart stronger. I heard cholesterol levels can go down, etc., etc. I have not weighed. I have not measured. The only numbers I have been keeping track of are my miles. Although that has been very satisfying, I started to wonder WHY I was doing this. I felt like my running was the definition of faith that we had studied about in Bible Study yesterday. My running was the substance of things hoped for (my outward appearance), the evidence of things not seen (my inside health). I may not be able to SEE the benefits of this, but I am hoping that I will feel and experience the benefits on a different level.
My husband and son have been wonderful through this. I didn’t know if they would mock me for even thinking about running or when they actually saw me run. But I was determined. Tonight, they gave me so much encouragement. My husband talked me through maybe needing to slow down just a bit and build up to where I want to be. He reminded me of my tendency to want things right away and that if I am not careful, I will not be able to do it at all. My son has offered to stretch with me and run with me even though I will not be a challenge for him at all. But he is willing to be that support for me.
I reflected on the last couple of days and seeing how I have been able to encourage others through the steps I am taking. I want others to feel good about themselves and use walking and running as a connection in their own relationships with others. Any step I take I count as a blessing. I thoroughly enjoyed a three mile WALK today and that is okay. Slow and steady wins the race. My encouraging Pandora treasure today was “This is why it is to You I run.” I know that it is my God who is supplying me with the strength and courage to always keep on keepin’ on.
I have discovered my new best friend through this last week: Epson Salt Baths! INSTANT relief!