Several years ago our teenage daughter made the comment that her dad and I were getting chunky. At first I was hurt, but it was the truth. Michael had started running already but nothing too serious and I would go out for an occasional walk. Running sounded atrocious to me. The idea of putting myself through that was not my idea of fun, but her comment resounded in my head. The other big push was having a house full of teenagers that all eat like, well, teenagers, and I wanted to be able to eat with them. I love food and the idea of limiting myself of this pleasure sounded worse than running, so that is exactly what I started doing. In October of 2019, we, as a family, signed up for a 5K and thus began my running life. It was more of a run/walk, but I was out there doing more than I had before. After the 5K, I was hooked. I wanted more swag, more races and more running. My mantra during the runs were ‘I hate running’ but afterwards I loved the feeling running gave me. It really was a bipolar relationship.
In December I stumbled upon this crazy challenge called Run the Year. The idea is to run however many miles are in the year, so in 2020 we would run 2,020 miles. I convinced Michael, my ever loving husband that goes along with every crazy idea I come up with, to sign up, as well as our daughter that called us fat (yeah she was getting dragged along for this adventure), and a few others to join our team of five. 2020 turned out to be a year none of us will forget, but in the end we had ran, walked or biked 2,020 miles.
Fast forward to 2022 and we are signed up for our third year of Run the Year. Our team has finished every year so far, it helps that one of our teammates is a marathon runner. Our team also completed a sprint triathlon in 2021. Our daughter had planned to do one with one of our teammates but 2020 happened. Then we came up with the wild idea that we could organize one right in our town and all of us could do the tri. It was hard, especially the swimming part, but we were a little running community and we did it. We struggled together, we celebrated together, we pushed one another and to me, that is a picture of church.
I’m not a good runner. I’m mediocre at best, but I’m doing better than I would if I never would’ve started. My body hurts, but I have more energy than I did before and the endorphins I experience after a run is better than any drug. If I am tired or having a bad day, running always perks me up. I’m so thankful for our daughter and the motivation she was to me, as well as all of our kids who have supported me and encouraged me with each and every run. Another daughter of ours always ask how far we will be running that day. If it is anywhere near 6 miles she always says, just go for a 10K (6.2 miles). I love it that her face lights up when I tell her I did a 10K and thank you for the encouragement. Our children have been at the end of races cheering us on and huge supporters to us. Running isn’t a me thing, it’s a family thing.
As we have begun to heal running has been a big part. We have gone from walking to running physically, as well as emotionally and spiritually. When emotionally I was struggling, physically I was learning to push my body farther than I had ever before. Through all of this I have learned that emotionally and spiritually I can also go farther than before. Running has been a reminder to me of the race we are running as Christians. Leaning on God through the hard parts makes the highs so much higher.