In less than two years, I went from a couch potato, to a marathoner. It still sounds weird saying that. M-a-r-a-t-h-o-n-e-r. Of all the things I’d ever thought I would accomplish in life, a marathon was not one of them. I have never had any desire to run long distances. Ever. What’s the point? Seriously. What is the point of putting your body through agonizing pain, blisters larger than the toe they’re encompassing, dehydration, starvation (like for real, ain’t no hungry like post-run hungry)…
Why? Why????? Well, let me tell you why:
Because as a runner, I have become stronger. I know that no matter what comes my way, I can endure it. There is strength within us that we too often leave untapped. Running can show you where that strength resides. “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
Because my daughter is watching me. She’s the reason I started running. I see girls struggling to accept their bodies in my classroom and in the hallways, everyday. I was one of those girls. I grew up with a tiny, beautiful mother and a body that was always slightly fluffier than “normal” girls. I remember riding down our dirt roads with my mom to pick up a pizza in Caney on a summer evening. The windows were down, Seal’s ballads bursting out into wild flower filled fields, and I was comparing the size of my mother’s legs to mine. Mine were bigger, therefore, I was “fat.” I was 11. It wasn’t until my body became a home for my growing baby that I came to appreciate the beauty and gift God had given me in this vessel. I hope to show Clara that the scale or a pant size or the circumference of your thigh, has nothing to do with beauty. Being healthy is beautiful. I may not “look” like a runner, but I’m a runner. That’s all that matters.
Because it’s a great way to make new, really good friends. I am convinced that you will never have closer friends than your running buddies. If sweating together and chafing together and blowing snot-rockets together, pushing through the wall, discussing potty problems, and accomplishing distances you never thought possible TOGETHER doesn’t make you tighter than a pair of Spanx after Christmas, then I don’t know what will. Running with others is raw and uninhibited. And it builds the most amazing and lasting relationships.
Because I need to be humbled from time to time. About two or three times a year, when my house is clean, my planner is full, my face isn’t breaking out, Daddy and Princess are cheery, and my outfits are on point, I start to think I’ve got this whole life thing figured out. Ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha (keep on keepin’ on)… There’s nothing like a race to bring me back down to Carolina. In fact, I think that’s the true purpose of races: to keep us humble. “It’s not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5
Because there is always a challenge. With running, I can always go farther. Run faster. I can always improve while learning to have grace with where I am now. I like that there is a future in running. It keeps propelling me forward. An eternity. I like that.
Because I have a thing for metaphors. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27