I began running in December of 2012 because I was 40 with high cholesterol, was overweight, and stressed. I told myself I need to do something! So I set out for the track to see if I could run a mile without stopping. I ran 3/4 of a mile and the journey began.
After running a mile my next goal was 3, and I kept increasing until I ran my first half marathon. Honestly I would have probably stopped after running 6 miles, but I saw the Maxey’s at my first official 5k race and they were so encouraging that they made me want to keep going forward. The Maxey’s introduced me to some great new friends that I never would have met were it not for running, I’m so thankful for all of them. Encouragement, support, and accountability are so important in running, but also in life. I hope you have friends that push you and bring out the best in you. Friends that are there no matter what, and have friends that have your best interest at heart. For obvious reasons I have found that I run better in groups than when I’m alone.
Just last summer I hadn’t ran as much because of the heat and humidity, but a lot in my group was training for a 15k run. I had conceded to just run the 5k yet those in my group encouraged me to run the 15k with them. I loved how they not only encouraged me but they said, “run with us.” In other words, we will be with you to support you and encourage you all the way. They talked me into it, and I ran the best in that 9 mile race than I did all summer in all my 3 mile runs! We are at our best when we have support and encouragement; we need support and we need encouragement.
Even though running in a group is great, there are times I chose to run alone because it’s great to get away to clear my heart and mind. How do you clear your heart and mind when you’re alone? My best friend is there. His name is Jesus. I can’t tell you how great it is to just pour my heart out to God while pounding the trail or the road! For me running is good therapy. It really is self care not only physically but mentally and spiritually.
You may not have an ounce of desire to get away and run, but you better take time to get away from the noise and clamor of this world. Always remember that intermittent stress is survivable, but constant stress is a killer. When was the last time you heard yourself breathe? More importantly, when was the last time you turned everything off and made time for the Lord? Tell him your fears, your questions, your trials…He already knows. It’s not to inform the Lord or for His benefit, it’s all for your benefit. God made you and knows you better than yourself and He wants to hear from you. He loves you and is waiting.
More than the support from true friends and time alone with God, running has taught me that you can’t go on feelings. Sometimes you feel great and sometimes you don’t. What do you do when you don’t feel like running? Just keep pressing on. What about that hill that’s coming? Just keep pressing on. What about that pain in your hip or knee? Just keep pressing on. What about that down hill? Now you’re talking! What about when it’s 65 and sunny outside? Oh yeah. What about when it’s 38 and raining or 95 and humid? Keep pressing on.
I don’t know where you are right now at this moment. Maybe climbing a tough hill or running down hill. Maybe it’s 38 and raining or 95 in the heat and humidity. Just keep pressing on. Don’t isolate yourself if the climb or the surroundings seem too tough. Call on a friend. Someone who you know will be there to push you every step of the way. Maybe you need some alone time. Take it. Just keep pressing on. Realize the great potential that is before you when you face the difficulty and keep pressing on. If you quit you’ll forfeit the powerful lesson that will come as a result of pressing on. Stay in the race. You’ll be glad you did. The path of greater resistance will teach us and equip us so much more than taking the path of least resistance. Keep pressing on.