I have a confession of sorts to make. I have signed up to run (?) a 10 km race. The people I’ve shared this with tend to react with shocked surprise, which they quickly attempt to mask. This does not bode well for me.
I know. You are probably wondering what on God’s green earth would cause me to pay money to some organization so they will allow me to run. I don’t fully understand it myself. All I know, is I was caught in a moment of weakness this New Year’s Eve; all hopped up on good intention and possibility.
Furthermore, I had become increasingly curious about a trend in many women I admire; their enjoyment of running. These are wonderful women, yet I struggle to relate to their chosen form of entertainment. Running, to me, has always seemed a somewhat desperate act. It propels one away from that which they fear, or towards those whom they love. It is difficult for me to conceive of it as a social event to be conducted in leisure time.
Nevertheless, I determined 2015 will be the year that I run. I envision a leisurely lope through beautiful downtown. I picture paved pathways, the river, and a lazy May sun. An afternoon spent with friends, surrounded by beautiful scenery, running? Sign me up.
Ever the student, I realized some educational intervention would need to occur between my January 1st resolution and race day in May. Thinking there would be some great advice on the internet for beginning runners such as myself, I delved in. Fascinated by what I found, I realized I could not keep this to myself.
In the spirit of sisterhood, I share with you my favourite running tips:
- Breathe through your mouth. If that becomes difficult, breathe through your nose. Well, what can one really say to such sage wisdom? Supposing both of these become increasingly difficult, are there other options? (My mind travels to a New Year’s Eve story of an ill-placed snorkel . . . I digress).
- Play a game. An interesting suggestion. Is this an attempt to distract oneself from the pain and suffering that is running? Will my friends appreciate me peppering them with “I Spy” and “20 Questions?” while I gasp through the only two places I know to bring oxygen into my body?
- Preform the Talk Test. Apparently, one should be able to talk with their running companion (hence the suggestion to play games while you run), but one should not be able to hit the high notes of an Italian Opera. I am intrigued. Does one burst out in song in an attempt to determine appropriate pacing? “I can definitely hit the high notes, girlfriend, let’s pick up the pace!”
- Set a goal. Ok, this one is easy! Mine is to go out for dinner with the girls afterwards.
- When running, let your jaw hang loose . . . There are no words for the picture this conjures up in my mind. Me, gasping as I run down the pathway slack jawed, shouting out random questions for entertainment, and piercing falsetto notes to determine pacing. I have a feeling I will be buying dinner.
The confidence gained from my research was quickly negated by a new piece of information. I have mentioned before that I am not one for details. It turns out, I missed a significant piece of information when agreeing to this madness. We will not be running on manicured pathways against the backdrop of my lovely city. This race is in a nearby mountain village; a remote and forested region populated by such terrors as Grizzly Bears and Cougars. My idea of nature loving is enjoying it from a concrete patio all clean and tame. I am officially in over my head.
Being overwhelmed is not new to me, and I know where to turn.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
I have a race set before me. I race I need to run. I was hoping it would be smooth and flat, surrounded by people and entertainment. Instead, I am discovering the path will be rough, hilly, littered with roots waiting to trip me up. It will be more lonely and isolated than I imagined, and there may be dangers waiting in the shadows.
But I’m going to run that race to get the prize. Because I have a cloud of witnesses cheering me on. And, I have Someone who went before me and will be waiting for me at the finish line.
*Having said all this, should my blog drop off without warning at the end of May, it may be that I have succumbed to injuries sustained by wildlife or fellow runners.