In college, I enjoyed working out in the campus gym. I continued my strength training from my team sports days and often utilized the stationary bikes. I never ran. I never even used the elliptical machines. Running like a dinosaur is still running. In fact, I think besides the occasional dash to class, I did not run for any length of time after the required mile during freshman year fitness and wellness class.
But, for some reason, I laced up my nine-year-old New Balance sneakers and took off around my neighborhood early on Labor Day. And I really liked it. (Don't fret, I have since purchased new shoes and may even require different ones.)
For weeks, I would wake before my alarm. I would skip down my front steps in anticipation and don my headphones. And then I would breathe in the luxury of my run. I could hardly believe it myself.
But, the honeymoon ended. Both of my ankles started to ache. More and more mornings had to be sacrificed for early meetings and rest for my feet. No huge loss. I probably took things a bit fast in the beginning and am paying for that now. I still enjoy running and will continue to do so.
The problem lies in the fact that, during my enthusiastic "early days" (six loooooong weeks ago) I agreed to run a 5K to raise money for a family near and dear to our church. This 5K is eight even shorter days away. And I still have never run 2.5 miles let alone 3.1.
After we return from our weekend in the woods where the hills are too treacherous for me, I will do my best to prepare. After nearly 10 days off, I am eager to get back out there and pound the pavement. I feel healthy. I feel motivated. People have paid for me to run this thing and that means a lot to me. My hope is to raise even a little bit more. My goal is to run the entire way.
Wait. The Run for Relief has nothing to do with me, in the end. True ministry should only be about the people you are serving, right? Well, God has a groovy way of using ministry to serve everyone involved. I have seen that firsthand on several missions trips and service projects. Really, God will reach you. Even if you do not have the true heart of a servant. Even if you have selfish ambition. I know physically, mentally and spiritually preparing for this run has changed me. Even when I have made it about me.
But most importantly, I know the run will help the family we care about, even if in just a small way.
Thanks be to God (not me.)
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perserverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of our faith." Hebrews 12:1-2a