Well, today was the big day. The graduation, if you will, of a twelve-week journey to improve my physical, mental, and spiritual fitness. If you remember, I had joined a ladies’ Bible study that was following the Run for God 5K program. I was a little concerned about having the race today. I had traveled the week of Thanksgiving and had fallen behind on training, and the training that I had been doing was mostly on flat ground. However, I’m happy to report that I was able to finish the 5K and beat the goals I had set for myself. I got a great sense of accomplishment by crossing that finish line, but I’d have to say my favorite part of the race was going back to run or walk others to the finish line as well. I found it a privilege to see so many people attain feats they thought were simply impossible just mere weeks ago. There were just so many warm and wonderful memories that were made today that will be forever etched in my memory. Here are just a few:
-The encouraging words of our group leader were inspirational. She has always been so encouraging and kind. I can’t imagine the countless hours she’s put into this endeavor.
-The funny “Over the Hill” balloon that marked the top of the monster hill that we made into our warmup was great comic relief for my nerves.
-The beautiful vistas, upbeat Gospel music on my phone, and time of talking to God along the way was renewing to my spirit.
-The encouraging words of people I’ve met from church and more that I didn’t even know along the race path kept me going.
-The beautiful lady from Sunday School who has been experiencing health problems who sat on a park bench in cold and windy weather to cheer everyone on was in the exact spot that I didn’t think I had any more to give. Her encouragement and presence helped me to keep going.
-The pastor’s wife who jumped in near the finish line to show me the way and kept encouraging me to keep going was the last push I needed to continue.
-The young man who so graciously asked if I would like a bottle of water at the end was just the refreshment I needed to recover from the race.
-The cheering and encouraging words of everyone I saw was so heart-warming.
-The final crossing of the finish line as we all sang hymns was truly up-lifting.
-The shirt, the medal, gifts, certificate, and letter were all a great surprise to celebrate our accomplishments.
So, I guess the word of the day would be encouragement. I have made so many new friendships and am so thankful to God for that opportunity. He has guided my steps throughout this journey, and I know He will be with me always since He said He would in his Word. Oh, what a comforting thought! Thanks be to God.
So, it’s been a while since I gave you all an update on my running adventures. Our Run for God class is in it’s sixth week, and I’m beginning to love running. It’s amazing how quickly my body has adapted to it. I can remember gasping for air and my muscles crying out in pain that first night. I’d be remiss not to tell you that we were only running for 60 seconds at a time that night. As the weeks have ticked by, we have increased the running times in the run/walk ratios. Although I haven’t really lost any significant amount of weight (primarily due to poor food choices), I have noticed that I am becoming more fit.
For the most part, I have begrudgingly strapped on my running shoes and gotten it done because that’s what the app told me to do that day. To be honest, I only joined the Bible study at church for the actual study of the Bible and for the fellowship. The idea that we would be running was just a bonus since I needed to make a step towards better fitness.
My thoughts of running before this class were that running is only for fitness. I remember being confused on what God had to do with running anyway when I joined the class. However, those thoughts have changed over time. I’ve learned that running can not only be good for my physical body, but it can also be a time of spiritual strengthening. After running the first couple of times during the first week of the class, my knees were absolutely killing me. I felt so discouraged because I need to get healthy, but the thing I was doing to reach that goal was causing new pain. I then began to pray that God would help me with my knees. I’m thankful to report that I don’t have knee pain anymore. The absence of knee pain is only the beginning of positive effects I’m noticing such as better moods, self-image, and increased time with God.
On Saturday night, I was thinking of skipping the scheduled run because I was busy feeling sorry for myself because my child had become sick (forcing us to cancel a special date night with my husband). I guess that disappointment fueled my run. I ran the longest distance in the shortest time I’d had by far without feeling bad. A bonus was that it was literally as if my mood had been completely changed.
A question posed from a recent class was why I run. My answer used to be just to get in shape. That’s still part of it, but I’ve also learned that my runs can be a great time to talk with God. I’ve changed my secular playlist to some great Gospel music and find myself worshiping God while I run. I’ve been able to talk about the Run for God program with friends that don’t attend church. Also, our class leader said something a couple of weeks ago when asked that question. She said something to the effect that one of her reasons was because God had given her legs to run with. Oh, how I’m so guilty of taking things like that for granted and aren’t careful to be grateful for that privilege. I pray I can be more intentional on being more thankful. I’m excited to see the changes that are still to come through this Bible study!