Oh, Running (shaking my head)...you and I have quite a history. I could say we've had a lot of ups and downs together, but actually we had mostly downs until this year came along and I figured I would try to change things.
The truth is, I've had a negative connotation with Running for as far back as I can remember. As a kid in elementary school I was the one who couldn't run very well. In high school, my inability to run a mile kept me from making the basketball team. When I first started running for exercise a few years ago it was in the midst of some toxic relationships, and that tarnished Running for me even further.
I suppose my biggest problem with Running has to be my persistence in trying to find my value in how I perform as a runner. That's never going to work out well for me because...I suck as a runner! Ha! (Really, it isn't my forte.) Seriously, though, I put all kinds of conditions on myself and feel like I have to meet them in order to be a worthwhile person. I know, it sounds really dumb when you say it out loud, but for some reason that lie is so easy for me to believe in my mind.
I could just give up Running and then all the pressure, confusion, anger, bad feelings and wrong thinking would disappear, right? Wrong! If I didn't have this twisted issue with Running, I would see it popping up somewhere else. Because the truth is this isn't really about Running. That's just one of the ways it manifests itself. Until I can embrace the truth of who I am and that all my value comes from the fact that God created me, I will look for ways to build myself up through the ways I perform, succeed, or gain admiration from others. That's not a healthy way to live.
So I keep on running...to remind myself that it doesn't define me. And it's a pretty big mind battle all the time. But I have faith that one day I will be able to shed the weight of my negative thinking and run completely free...completely at peace with who I am without any fear that I won't live up to the ridiculous standards I'm setting in order to think I am a valuable person. (Or to prove to others I am a valuable person.)
One way I tried to change my focus was to run an event with a different person every month this year. What a year it has been! I wanted to make Running about relationship, encouragement, acceptance, and joy. And in many ways my friends and family helped me do that this year with their love and support. To each of you who ran with me this year I offer my deepest, most heartfelt thanks. I literally could not have done this without you. Your participation with me in this endeavor means the world to me. I am full of gratitude.
In 12 months, I ran 44.7 miles with friends and family. Some of those miles were in the freezing cold (sorry Greta) and some were in the blazing heat (sorry Emily). I ran events all over the area plus Tyler, Oklahoma, and Palo Alto, CA. Some were short (1 mile with the boys) and some were long (6.2 and 6.5 both with Jackie who is a real trooper.) Some felt great and others were a chore to finish. Some were with seasoned runners and others were with first time 5K runners (way to go Alexis, Emily, Erin, and Ava!) I ran on my birthday. I ran with my precious daughter. I ran with my big strong boys. I went on a romantic "Runcation" with my sweet husband. I ran a 6 mile event that had 5 water stops and I ran a 5K in August that had zero water available. (WTH?) I ran in the morning and at night. Every race was different. Every running partner brought something unique and beautiful to the moment.
Because of this year-long goal, some of my fears and problems with Running melted away. I still have issues with Running. I probably will for some time. But I am slowly learning how to let go of Fear and let Love take its place because my heart is full of wonderful memories of time spent with friends and family. Each of you has helped me get a little farther on the path to Freedom.