I’ve had several people tell me that once you start running, you become addicted to it. They say, “You’ll hate it at first, but if you stick with it, eventually you’re going to crave it!” Well, I started training for a half marathon a little over a year ago and I’m still waiting for that moment. How long before you stop hating it and “crave” it as they say?
I’m on the heavier side and always have been, so when my friend brought up the idea of running a half marathon a year and a half ago, I laughed at her. She mentioned an app that she wanted to try (Couch to 5k) and I agreed to try that with her instead. I figured over the course of 3 months, I could at least try to run 3 miles. When I finished the twelve weeks, my resolve had weakened and a half marathon seemed a little less impossible. She decided not to do the half marathon, but I had gotten into my head that I needed to challenge myself in a way I’d never challenged myself before. Another friend decided she wanted to do a full marathon (she’s crazy!) and the next thing I knew, I was signed up for a June half marathon.
Fast forward about 14 months and I still hate running. I can’t run nonstop (I run, walk, run), it’s unbelievably boring, I hurt while I’m doing it, and I doubt myself the entire time. It feels like I haven’t accomplished anything. However, when I look back over the past year, I have run nearly 250 miles preparing for this race, I’ve completed a 13-mile run, and most importantly, I haven’t quit! My biggest struggle throughout the training has been fighting my natural desire to stop and find something I am better at. Satan does an incredible job of using me against myself. When I’m running, I find myself thinking things like, “What are you doing? You aren’t a runner! What in the world makes you think you can run 13 miles if you’re already breathing hard after ½ a mile?” It doesn’t entirely help that my music of choice has Luke Bryan asking me to shake it and all I can picture is the jiggling of my butt as I try to maintain my speed. But, when I finish and I get back home to take a shower, there is a feeling of accomplishment that I have never known in my life.
I think this is because my whole life I have stuck to doing things that are relatively easy for me. With a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics some would roll their eyes, but the truth is I love math; it’s linear and I don’t have to question it. It’s consistent. Running, on the other hand, has me face to face with the same uncertainty and lack of confidence that I see in my high school students. I need to stick with it if for no other reason than that it allows me to relate to them in ways I never have before. Every time I ask them to keep trying, to believe in themselves, to have some confidence I need to remind myself to do the same.
So here I am, four weeks away from my race and at this point I don’t ever want to run this far again! God is so good, though, and through this process He has given me strength and peace when I needed it most. He has also given me an incredible support team in my family, friends, and husband. My poor husband has put up with far more tears, disappointment, frustration and anger this year than one man should have to withstand. He is my hero! My prayer right now is that God continues to give me peace and strength as I finish training and prepare for race day.
Father God, I know that I couldn’t have accomplished any of this without You. You are my strength and my peace. Lord, thank You for going before me and guiding me through this process. Father, I pray that You will help me to finish strong, glorifying Your name all the way. Thank You, God, for Your faithfulness. In Your precious name, Amen.