June 4, 2018 marks a special milestone in my life. It is my 43rdbirthday, which is an age that seems quite ordinary. But it was 10 years ago…at the age of 33, I laced up my running shoes and decided to start running. I had tried before and hated it…mostly because I didn’t really give it a chance, thinking I should be able to run a mile when I had not moved off the couch for most of my life. This time was different…I was determined to train and run a 5k. That was the goal and it seemed like it would be nearly impossible. So I opened up the “Couch to 5k” training plan and made a commitment…I would start running. And I did.
In the last 10 years, I have run thousands of miles. Running has been my sanity, my joy, my meditation…it has helped me think through critical decisions and has been the time when much of my writing came together…my best ideas come when I run. Sometimes, the run is full of pure joy…the sunrise, the songs of the birds, the bonds of friendship, the challenge of just one more mile. Sometimes, it feels like pure evil…like the birds are mocking me rather than singing, like the buzzards are hovering around and I am their next meal, times when each step was painful and miserable. Regardless of the run, the first mile is always the hardest and the last mile is a close second. I have run through some of the most challenging times of my life…through sickness, death of loved ones, difficult decisions. I have run to celebrate the greatest times. I have run with the support of loved ones…they were there in some really crazy races. I have run with equally loud criticism…my favorite is being told that I am going to ruin my knees (by people who have bad knees and never run a day in their lives that I could tell). Running has opened doors for me to meet some fantastic people…to develop friendships that have lasted through many miles…to bond in a way that really isn’t explainable, unless you run.
The steps I have taken remind me that I am stronger than I ever thought. I am reminded that I am capable of so much more. Running is so much mental that I have learned the stories we tell ourselves often determine the outcome…rather than the actual ability. I have grown closer to God through running and have heard him speak through the miles and breaths.
So today, I run to celebrate 10 years. It has been a tough and yet rewarding time. I look forward to seeing where my feet take me next. I will continue to run as far as my imagination and God will allow me to go.
Two of my favorite quotes about running are from John Bingham…
“If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.”
“At age forty-three, when I found myself standing in my garage in a new pair of running shoes, I knew that it was my moment of truth. Behind me lay forty years of bad decisions and broken promises.”
John Bingham, The Courage to Start