I stood in my trainer’s kitchen as she outlined our workout routine for the evening. I heard hills and I heard running and my heart started racing. You see, my version of exercise does not consist of running unless I am being chased by something or someone. The idea of bated breaths and quick exertion in no way entices me. I am a neophyte to this form of exercise and had very little desire to be experienced in this particular craft. I could think of 1,000 excuses why I should not be doing this. My reality: I had to literally take this workout one stride at a time.
So I started. With high knees, one foot in front of the other and a slow yet regulated pace. My goal was simply to make it to the end. My calculated thoughts was even breathing and forward movement. A little bit of self-talk said, ‘You will make it there eventually. Just keep going!’” Before I knew it, I became winded and my heart started racing begging for there to be an immediate end in sight. I wanted it to be OVER!
I realized that running is one of the most vulnerable states I have ever been in and I hated it. It forced me out of my comfort zone with movements that my body was not typically used to. Up and down my legs went as my arms kept pace. The only thing I could do as I found myself growing faint was to look up and keep moving. I focused very little on the voice behind me shouting’ Push’ or the one in front of me assuring me that I can do it. I just wanted to finish. I wanted it to all end. #FixItJesus
Somewhere along the way, I stopped actively breathing and started holding my breath. My head started pounding. The throbbing on the left side of my head forced me to slow down. I wanted it all to stop. The feeling was so debilitating that at that moment mid-stride, I wanted to throw up. Then came the words pulsing through the air, ’‘Kim, Breathe! Push! You can do this!”
I saw my friend Crystal at the top of the hill bidding me come. My heart and head felt like they were failing me. My bones were tired from doing this activity. If I can only make it to the end, I kept telling myself. Screw form…I just want to finish. I want to go back to my comfort zone where I do not have to expend this much energy. I did not know that this would be so much work. Thump…Thump…My temples went. My muscles seemed to be giving out. My knees were shaky with exhaustion. I wanted to cry. I wanted to give up. Yet in my fatigue and frustration, I looked up. Crystal met me on my journey and was there running alongside me. Winded herself…but running to ensure that we BOTH made it to the end together.
At last, I did it. I kicked my own butt. That hill had seen the last of me even only I meant it for that day. My endurance and stamina was tested. My patience was tested, I needed discipline. I need practice. I wanted the end result as soon as I started my trek. I was far from perfect. It was there I was faced with my frailty and insufficiency yet it was there that I received great clarity: There was help at the top of the hill when I looked up. Someone else came alongside me in the midst of their personal victory to spur me forward. In the midst of my insufficiency, I was not alone. Whew…Jesus//// Such a lesson in humility on that hill.
It was in the moment of jogging back down the hill, it hit me like a ton of bricks #ahamoment : I completed a task, I never thought I was fit enough to even begin. Although it seemed as if I failed at it during the process, My stride and my breathing were getting better with practice. What I thought at the time would kill me, actually was designed to make me stronger.
So while I may have felt vulnerable and out of my league, I accomplished in one evening what I thought I could not achieve in a lifetime. What changed in me, the faint voice behind me telling me to ‘Push!’ and the person before me who was willing to run the rest of the way with me after her race was over.
I do not know where you are in this journey called life but I ask that you do not give up. Keep pushing and look up. Open your lungs and breathe. You will gain just what it takes to reach the end & if your strength seems to wane make sure that you have your running buddies with you to give you the extra encouragement you need. You see, we were created to run but were not meant to run this race alone.
hated running until I realized just how much I needed it. On the days where the end seems so far away or nowhere in sight, focus on simply putting one foot in front the other. The destination is sure to come eventually.
I will love to hear your running stories. What do you love or hate most about this activity?