In high school, our gym teachers had this horrible conspiracy to torture us. It was called “the mile and a half.” Freshmen talked about it as a thing to be feared, and each semester, it was the time of year to be dreaded. At least for the non-running types, of which I was one. I’ve never been in what I would call great physical shape, so running was difficult for me. I wasn’t good. If the weather was hot, I sweated too much and had bouts of nearly passing out. One summer during softball practice (I know this has nothing to do with running), I puked in center field and was seeing white spots because I was overheated. Our hunky high school “coach,” more like an instructor, bought me a Sprite and ushered me to a shady spot on the bleachers. The other girls were slightly jealous, but that didn’t last long.
Enough digression. Tomorrow, despite all my past declarations against the sport, I become a runner.
The gear has been purchased (See new shoes in photo).
The plans for watching the children have been made. The fitness plan has been decided. My husband and I will set out tomorrow morning to begin our journey to run a 5K in late November.
This idea first popped into my head after I saw a friend “like” the “Couch to 5K Running Plan” (http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml?cmp=18-1) on Facebook. The idea intrigued me, especially since I would consider myself pretty much a couch potato now. Though two kids do keep a person hopping. But I also cope with bad days by eating chocolate and Cheetos. Sometimes together, sometimes not.
There’s more to this wacky plan than fitness, though. To be honest, our marriage is hurting right now and 30 minutes three times a week running with my husband, without the kids, will be precious couple time that we haven’t sought often enough. The physical benefits will be a bonus, as we both could stand to lose some more “baby” weight. Mine from the actual pregnancies, my husband from the sympathy eating.
Also, I’m realizing that I’m not terribly disciplined nor do I really understand what hard work is. Most of my life, I’ve chosen the easy way. Or avoided hard work altogether. Growing up, when my parents went outside to do yardwork, I more often stayed inside and read a book or watched TV. Even now, I have trouble not being selfish or lazy with how I spend a day. I sit way more often than I should, even with the aforementioned children running, crawling and climbing all over the house. I’m a writer by design, so naturally I’m drawn to sitting at a computer, reading a book or doing more intellectual things. Physical training has only ever been fun for me if it’s part of a game. Like volleyball or softball.
Running is hard work. I think that’s why I’ve avoided it. I don’t have a lot of self-discipline or mental strength to push myself to do something that takes work. I’m impressed by runners because they can push themselves to go another mile when their bodies want to give up. I need that sort of fortitude in other areas of life. The will to keep going even when the going gets tough.
I used to tell people, when dismissing the idea of running for fun, that I would only ever run to save my life. In a way, that’s what I’m now doing, what I proposed to my husband. In a lot of ways, we need to save our lives right now, and running is the answer.
I’ve been thinking about what the apostle Paul wrote about running in his letters to the early church. I used to read over those words. Now I’m paying more attention.
“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)
“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8)
We invite you to join us on this journey. I’ll be blogging regularly about our progress and would appreciate any advice, encouragement, tips you have about running, or living a self-disciplined life in general.