I’ve always been a pretty active person. In college, I worked as an aerobics instructor/personal trainer at a gym and fell in love with physical fitness. It has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember.
As much as I love a variety of physical activity – I do aerobics, weight train, the elliptical, step classes, kickbox, just about everything and love it – one thing has eluded me over the years. I cannot run. Running has always been that activity that fitter, more active people do. Not me.
Last year, a friend mentioned that her goal was to run a 5K before the end of the year. It intrigued me, as this was something I had been contemplating myself. I decided to take the plunge and give it a shot.
In December, I purchased an app for my phone called Couch to 5K – a program designed to train you in 6-8 weeks to have the endurance to run a 5K. Perfect. The downside is that I live in Colorado and in December, it’s pretty cold and sometimes snowy. I’m a pretty fair weathered gal; I don’t go outside much if it’s below 40. So, for the first few weeks, nearly all my running was inside my house – it was quite a scene.
I signed up to run in a 5K on February 26 – this gave me a deadline and a goal. Not only did I have to train enough to complete the distance, I knew I would have to force myself outside, even when I didn’t want to.
So, on a fairly nice, 50-degree day, I stepped out during week 4 of the program. Oh. My. Word. Nothing I had done had really prepared me for it. I was starting from near scratch. My chest pounded, my breathing was terrible and I felt like I might be dying. But, something kept telling me to press on. I tried. And, at about the 1 mile mark, I started to pray. I prayed for each step. Because I knew that if it were up to me, I’d quit and walk way more than the program allowed. This would be sure failure. So with my mind concentrating on Jesus, somehow my feet kept going and eventually, I made it through the session.
From then on, the one thing that has helped through every run was praying and keeping my heart and mind focused on Jesus. I can vividly remember finding markers along the path and asking Him to just help me get to that mailbox, that light pole, that fire hydrant. Every time, He got me there and every time, I thanked him.
On February 26, I lined up with 11,000 of my new closest friends and we began to run. I prayed as we started because it was warm – nearly 75 degrees in Florida that morning. I prayed because I was nervous about trying too hard and getting hurt or passing out. And, when I prayed, I felt calm. I knew I wasn’t running alone. Those steps weren’t just mine.
Afterward, I thought about how that race, and beginning to run at all, has reflected my faith journey. I needed to learn to completely trust and lean on God for every step, during every run. There were times when my mind wandered and I was distracted and guess what? I stumbled. As long as I stay focused on the One who is guiding my every step, I am fine. That is precisely how I want my life journey to be run.