Everything has changed
Running was a huge part of my life for about 8 or 9 years depending on if you count the early months of becoming a runner and the declining years. If you really narrow it down, I would say I had 7 good years of racing. 2016 I was really doing great! I won quite a few awards in my age group and was feeling good. Once I hit age 50, things just started deteriorating, but I kept trying to hold my ground, or pace and fitness level and weight. But guess what? Fighting the normal human aging process is tough! But I don’t think that is the only thing that changed running for me.
I Kept trying to run longer than I wanted to.
Like most competitively minded runners, I wanted to be as fast as I could in races, while remaining uninjured and mentally healthy. I also wanted to run long distances, maintain a high number of miles per week, and participate in races as often as I could. I loved races! I never thought that obsession would change, but it did. You could blame it on Covid, but I was already losing my desire to race before the pandemic started. I think I really quit caring in September of 2019 after my DNF at Sky Island. But I kept trying to regain my motivation. I really did not know if I could be happy if I left that life behind, it was such a big part of me. Would I lose all my friends? What would I do with my time? Silly me! God had a plan all along!
God is changing things in the world and in my life
Last year, 2020, I ran Jackalope Jam, a 24 hour looped race in which I completed 70 miles, in February. I felt like I should have been able to do more, but I just didn’t have the drive to push harder and I barely even trained for it. After that month, all races were cancelled except for virtual races. I signed up for a few races because my friends did and I wanted to support race directors who had lost their income, but the motivation to train for them was just not there. The peer pressure and group support helped me complete the Great Race Across Tennessee, a virtual race of 1000 kilometers over a period of some months, it’s crazy but I cannot even remember how long it took to finish. And I also completed the virtual Crazy Desert 100k by the skin of my teeth and the Tejas Trails Mirage race . Meanwhile, I was gaining weight and having various aches and pains. I hurt myself in the Mirage race, too. After training for and running those virtual races, I was just over it. All desire to train and run more than a few miles at a time was just gone.
Finally , I accepted the truth.
I stopped trying to force myself to run and be excited about running. For a long time I thought running defined me. Yes, I was also a Christian and mom and wife and friend. But I put running at the top of my list of priorities for all those years. And I think God was okay with that, for awhile. Then He said, Now I have other plans for you, time to retire. I felt like a quitter, which I had been in my previous life ( pre-children), so I fought against that desire to stop running. But I also knew in my heart that God had previously worked in phases in my life and 7 years of good times was a huge blessing. I prayed about it over and over. He kept telling me (by that still small voice of the Holy Spirit) that it was okay, that I am not a quitter, that I should not define myself by running, that I belong to Him, that he has plans for me. For months I doubted that was true, and kept wondering if I was just experiencing a down time, overtraining, or being lazy. Yes, I had a lot going on, but I have always had a lot going on and I still managed to do all those races, so something was different. But then August 2020 came and I started serving in a new role in ministry. Then it made sense. This was God’s plan. He knew and I knew that I could not properly devote myself to ministry and spend so much time training, recovering, thinking about running, going to races, paying for races, and the social life that goes with it.
Running was a beautiful gift that God put into my life for a reason and I will always treasure those memories and the friends I made and still have. I grew so much in so many ways! I truly believe that God will use the lessons from those years of racing and enduring for HIS GLORY! And I still want to be there to support my friends in their running journey.
Now I am fully in the race that God planned for me from before the world was made.
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
Now I am AVAILABLE to my boss, Jesus. I am not TOO BUSY or too tired to go to church, or racing on Sunday, or so mentally focused ( um, obsessed) on my running goals that I can’t even think about what God’s will is or hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. Now, I am not saying that if YOU run, you can’t serve God. But for me, running was so all-consuming, and I also had many other things going on, that there was not much time left over. And I am HAPPY! I am growing by leaps and bounds in my faith, in my knowledge of God and his Word, and in my relationships with other believers. I do not regret my running years at all. God is so good. He knew exactly what I needed! He truly loves his children and the more I trust him, the more he shows me his power and grace. It’s a beautiful thing! Meanwhile, I am still running about 10-15 miles per week for health and fitness and I’m perfectly happy with that.
Now when I lie awake at night, I think about God instead of running. I marvel that he cares about little old me. I thank him for everything he’s done and is doing in my life with my family and in the world as he carries out his righteous and perfect plans that no one can question or stop! I pray that he will continue to guide me, teach me, and forgive me for my failures and that he will use me for his glory.
God has a plan for you, too!
Do you feel dissatisfied or restless or lost? Maybe God is trying to change your course but you have not been listening. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth and show you how you can serve the Lord with your life. He is worthy and he is able to do it! God bless !
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12 ESV