I have so much admiration for runners.
In my mind, they rank right up there with Olympic athletes, professional sports players and marathon marvels! I mean, the PUSH they have for the goal is phenomenal. I love their stories, and to see them BURN as they push past the pain and reach their goal, and they reach it FAST! But can I admit something to you?
I’m so NOT a runner.
I admire them from a distance.
A LOOOONNGG distance, because they run right past me in all their marvelous strength as I walk with my fur baby every morning. Their fabulous calves popping, their breath coming out in puffs, with a look of determination and purpose on their face. Meanwhile, I’m walking. I’m a brisk walker, and science says that counts for something, and in my walking, I’m hoping science is right.
I tried to become a runner once. “They” told me I could do it, that anyone could run and that I just had to “work my way” up to it. Boy did I find out different. There was a real problem.
You see…I really don’t like self-inflicted pain!
This may not be the case for everyone, but for ME to train as a runner, I quickly figured out that it took PAIN. And lots of it! I suffer from chronic body pain, mainly from a lower-back genetic condition that affects me daily.
I also deal with an autoimmune disease that weakens my body. So the running quickly inflamed and irritated conditions I had already been dealing with for a lifetime.
I pushed through it initially, but by the end of the second week, with no relief after using all the known methods of reducing the inflammation and treating my pain, I decided not to become a “runner” after all.
Disappointment in my “failure” soon took over…
You see, runners seem to have their own club, and they just…well, they “get” each other. They get to be part of 5ks and wear stickers on their cars that have secret runner’s codes. They wear cool bibs and branded t-shirts and fancy running shoes. They are in a league all their own. And for me to get invited to this elite group, I had to run! And I just couldn’t.
At first, I was operating in an ALL or NOTHING mentality…
Since I couldn’t run, I decided, I just wouldn’t bother being active at all. I had failed, so I shrunk back from fitness altogether for a time.
Don’t we often do that? Go all in or nothing with these things? Hebrews 12:1b talks about running our appointed race in “patient endurance” and “active persistence.”
So I couldn’t really RUN, but did that mean I was to sit down in a huff and not do ANYTHING active for my health?
No, I decided, “patient endurance” in my understanding spoke less of speed and MORE of tenacity.
“Active persistence” told me that hanging in for the long haul and doing it ACTIVELY was a good goal.
So I couldn’t run. I still can’t run. But I CAN walk.
So that is what I began doing.
I parked further away in the parking lot and walked to the store. I walked the kids to the neighborhood park. I walked to my daughter’s school around the corner.
Then I began to feel stronger…and even a little more muscular! Yes, just walking!
Soon, I set a bigger goal for myself and committed to walking 30 days straight for a half-hour a day. I took off on my challenge, walking with my fur baby, my hubby, my daughter, my son…anyone who would walk with me!
Some days I walked for 45 minutes, sometimes, for an hour! I walked uphill, downhill, on pavement, on dirt trails. I walked early in the day (my personal favorite!) and late in the evenings.
And as I walked, I felt myself breathe better, feel better, and best of all, WANT to make other choices to live healthier!
As I write this, I’ve walked well past that original personal 30-Day challenge I set for myself…and I FEEL SO GREAT!
I’m not in any additional body pain, and in fact, have even seen my back pain diminish a bit!
My prayer life is stronger as I’ve had those powerful moments alone with God and nature as I walk.
My knees feel great, my weight has dropped a bit, my leg muscles (and even butt!) are LOOKING better than ever…and it’s all from walking.
I learned that even though I wanted to run, and run well, it just isn’t MY PERSONAL appointed race during this season of my life.
I still admire the runners as they pant past me in their awesome running shoes.
I still look to their secret society with a twinge of jealousy. But I am secure in my achievement as a walker. I know I am doing my very best right now as I walk every day.
As Hebrews taught me, I CAN and WILL walk briskly the appointed race set before me, and do it with patient endurance and active persistence!
FRESH Living Friends: What about you and your fitness story? We would love to hear your lessons learned and moments of joy in your personal fitness journey! Share in the comments below!