Friday, December 21, 2012

Reflections of a runner (very small 'r'!)

I am not a world class runner, I have not run in enough races to even have any personal best times and on most days it takes a good amount of drive to get out the door to run. Yes, running is good for us physically that is a no brainer-and many run for that reason-to physically feel better-which is a great reason.  However, recently I have once again re-visited the 'other' reasons why people run.  Including myself.

If you were to look through my kindle books or ibooks on my ipad you would quickly see some themes.  I am not going to name all the books that I am reading or have read-but since I have started running I have added the genre of running books to my library.  There have been some great reads-and all of them tell of a story of a runner-and what brought them to running and what keeps them running.  Some turned to running to overcome a personal challenge-whether it be drug and alcohol abuse, a disease that took the life of a loved one, an end of a marriage, a detached the depths of their grieving, despair or re-hab they turned to running to help them.

For others they started to run out of pure joy and a realization of the God given talent they had been given.  They run to feel alive, they run because they can, they run out of thankfulness for what they have overcome.  Regardless of their success or failures as a runner they keep running - as Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire stated " I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. And when I run I feel His presence."  A runner, especially a distance runner, spend a lot of time alone with their thoughts to think about things like this!

As I look back at 2012, I would like to think I ran for the pure joy paragraph.  But life is not always like that in the world we live in.  At times I ran out of frustration-becasue of circumstances that I wish I could have changed.  Some of these frustrations were read on this blog. Some days I ran to get rid of anger and stress-and at the end of long day would sigh " I need to go for a run"-fully realizing that going for a run wouldn't end the frustrations or rid me of my faults.  So why did I keep running?

 Some of the beautiful faces of 2012..

Valid questions. Yes, a big part of it was to raise money for our great projects-but there is more. You see, like what Eric Liddell stated so long ago-I believe God made all of us for a purpose-and we have a choice to seek out that purpose and fulfill it -or live in our past and let it hinder us from the plan that God has for us.  Unlike Eric Liddell, I am not fast-but when I run -I do feel His presence.  And when I do, the mountains of frustrations begin to diminish and my anger is subdued.  I don't try and understand the needless deaths of little Eveleen or David-instead, I am thankful that we had the opportunity to show God's love to them-even if it was for a limited time.  I rejoice in gratefulness for the amazing staff I get to work with -many you have 'met' on this blog-who have become more than just co-workers to me.

 Moving forward..even if it is up a hill!

All the books I have read on people who run-it is evident that every runner has to made a choice at some point in their life.  They either run looking forward or they are running 'away' from their past.  Both run. I have dipped my runners in both worlds.  As 2013 approaches-I have to keep asking myself why I run and what direction am I facing?  This year I will not be running the London marathon-but I am going to still keep running. Because God has created me for a purpose. Because God gives me the strength to run. Because God sent His Son, Jesus, at Christmas to heal our past, bring joy and love and keep us focused on what is ahead.

I hope and pray that this Christmas-everyone is reminded of this great Gift that God has given us.  And as we start a New Year we focus on what is ahead of us not what was left behind that we can never change.  I can't wait to see what God has in store for us in 2013-whatever it is I will keep running!

For those runners or family/friends of runners who want some good books for Christmas gifts or just to read over the holidays- here are some that I have read and enjoyed!

1. The Great Grete Waitz:  Awesome book on one of the humblest, hardest working runner the world has ever seen.  This quiet, Norwegian woman-change the face of women's running forever.  She died in 2011 of cancer-leaving behind an amazing legacy of 9 New York marathon victories.

2. Run to Overcome:  Meb Keflezighi-Eriterian born and now a US citizen.  Amazing story of a family journey from war torn Eriteria to Italy to the U.S.  Now one of the best American men's marathoners.

3. Running with Joy:  Ryan Hall.  American marathon runner-great testimony of his integration of his faith and running.  Follows his diary of training for the Boston marathon. Includes stories of how he got into running-his family-his time at Stanford Univeristy-frustrations and joys.

4. Train like a mother-Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea-contributing writers for Runner's World-two very funny women who write about the ups and downs, the how to and  training guides for everything from a 5km-26.2 marathon.  Great stories and quotes from other women runners-and commentary on the craziness of motherhood-and being a woman.

5.Going Long: Legends, Oddballs, Comebacks and Adventures-Runner's World book with great short stories on runners who changed the world of running, or had a huge impact on society-like Terry Fox.

6. The Runner's Devotional:  Has daily devotionals for runners-and a journal section for both training logs and for writing.

7.My life on the Run-Bart Yasso-Bart work for Runner's World and I have just started this book-but I am really enjoying it-and have no doubt it will be another great read!