life lessons from running- there is no shinyhappy checklist

Tomorrow is our big race. Which has me thinking about how much I love running, and more specifically why I love running.
I think there are two reasons I love it so much.
1. Running provides two things I could not otherwise afford right now- free therapy and a gym membership in one little outing.
2. Besides the physical and mental benefits, my other favorite thing about running is the life lessons I’ve learned (and continue to re-learn) as I put mile after mile on the tread of my Asics.

Most of the lessons I learn again and again (I’m a slow learner I guess). This is The Lesson that I relearn weekly-There Isn’t A ShinyHappy Checklist.

Let me explain.

Running is the one of only things in my life where I can try the same thing and consistently, day by day, get different results. Same route, same gear, same weather, same breakfast.
And still, you never know what you’re going to get.

There are weeks, like this week, that start with a fantastic eleven miler. A run that ends with the thought, “I could keep going and still feel good.”

Then, two short mornings later, an ‘easy run,’ the little three mile loop around the park near our house, feels like such work. Every step is effort. The entire run is a pep talk to my body, “You can do this! You can do this! One more step!” And, instead of rambling prayers or letting my mind scamper here and there until it slows down a bit, all I can do is pray for the run’s end.

All I can think on those days is that I wish there were some ShinyHappy Run checklist.

But life is like that too. Unpredictable. Work. Same ingredients, different results. Breezing through a hard day but flattened by something little.

In short, much as I wish there were, there isn’t a ShinyHappyLife checklist either.

And, to be honest, I love the reminder that a so.dang.hard “easy run” brings. I also love the offshoot- a lingering anticipation for something better. Because, in the last few years, I’ve never had a whole week of bad runs (well, minus the getting-in-running-shape seasons after I had each baby, which were brutal and in a different category entirely).

Always knowing that some morning in the near future will result in an endorphin induced euphoria, a feeling of being able to take on the whole big, chaotic world (or just my laundry pile, which sometimes seems as daunting) is such a gracious mercy from the Lord.

For a girl like me, who loves checklists and systems and tried and true ways to “get it right,” my weekly runs are one big reminder that life just doesn’t work that way. And that’s ok.

As a total aside, hopefully the Rock ‘n Roll half marathon tomorrow falls in the category of “could-keep-going” not “praying-for-the-finish” right? :) I’ll keep y’all posted!

Do you have anything like running? A life lesson teacher? A constant in your week whose total is much greater than the sum of its parts? 

Comments

  1. Amy says

    Good luck this weekend! I totally understand this post! I'm running my first full next saturday and I'm nervous about which version of my body is going to show up!

  2. Jaclyn says

    GREAT post! I just recently started following (because I saw your AMAZING and ADORABLE 'Antrho' homemade quilt on pintrest- which i am determined to try one of these days), but I have been running for the past 5 weeks now, training for the rock-n-roll half marathon in New Orleans :) so it was so encouraging to read your post about running! I completely relate- Thanks for sharing and hope you did well on the race!

  3. Amy says

    Good luck and most importantly have fun running your half marathon! I'm so jealous because in the spring I started training for one(never ran in my life before) that was actually last weekend. But I was sick all of August and lost a whole month of important training. Yes I did have to quit my training for that race but I'm going to find another race to start training for.

  4. Jengineer says

    good luck with your race! i'm a runner, too (several half marathons, two fulls), and i have yet to find a better method of stress relief.

    even after the horrible runs you describe, i feel great. that's my motivation to keep going. :)

  5. Holy Craft says

    Good luck on your run. I just finished my third half last month (the 2nd and 3rd were within 6 weeks of each other) and I can totally relate to those easy runs being so dang hard. I'm not one of those people who loves to run or gets that runners high, so I decided to go back to only running on my own terms. I wrote a post about it if you want to read it. Best of luck!

    Rachel
    http://holy-craft.blogspot.com/2011/09/hanging-up-my-running-shoesfor-little.html

  6. Wray Sist3rs says

    Hey friend! I thought about you this morning as I was sitting in traffice at 13th and grant :) I hope the race went well. I am sure that you rocked it!

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