Monday, February 28, 2011

...and then the unthinkable happened!

I run for a lot of different reasons, like most runners. One of the benefits is that I am out of the house and I get to breathe fresh air for about an hour. I also can clear my mind. It helps me deal with the rest of the day when I can get my mind clear.

This morning I was running just a little faster than "slow" gear when the unthinkable happened. A younger woman came up behind me and passed me! My thoughts became clouded with tons of questions! I immediately felt so unproductive and like I was failing! My steps quickened as I realized another runner was going the same direction only faster. It doesn't matter at all that I am probably 20 years her senior...it's unthinkable. I know I'm slow but what the...?

I began to reason it all out so I could find a calmer way to run! I know I am older, perhaps even less experienced. But the I realized I am not competing with her - I compete only against myself. This has been one of my running mantras from the beginning. If we were racing we certainly wouldn't even be in the same age group why was I worrying about it.

There is a scripture that says comparing themselves among themselves they are not wise. (2 Corinthians 10:12) I do not need to compare myself to other runners, I can only improve myself when I realistically look at what I am doing. I can research and know what I am reaching for but I cannot look at another runner to see if I am making the mark or missing it altogether!

This is so true in life. We can spend a lot of time comparing ourselves with others in many arenas and seem to fall far short by imaginary standards. Or we can take a realistic look at who we are, where we want to go, and who we want to become and then go there.

There are many pressures in all life's classrooms to be just like others. And church is no different. It's time we be ourselves and do our best and work with what we have. My body is 50 years old it simply will not work like a 26 year old one! I must push myself as far as I can but no further. Unrealistic expectations whether they are in running or life will only bring defeat. Set some real goals - for who you are and where you are - then go for it! We will get there if we do not give up.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Thou Shalt Not Judge

I think this was one of the first lessons and the most important that I have learned from running. It's easy to look down on someone running the same roads you run without knowing anything about them. Running is gaining in popularity and it seems there are more runners out there all the time.

It's easy to be smug as I pass another runner on the road. Somehow I think I am better than them because I just left them in my dust. (that doesn't really happen much!) But you can't really tell much about a runner that you pass on your route. They may be running their first mile ever; or they may be cooling down from a 20 miler!

It's totally irrelevant to your run if they are pouring with sweat or not! They aren't going where you are going and the chances are good that they are not training for the same reasons you began your own. You really just can't tell.

There is no way to tell where they are on their journey. It could be their first season or their fiftieth! And there's no way to know what they are dealing with on the inside. It was through great stress and pain that I found running to begin with.. and it is no less present even as I run today!

To me this is a great life lesson. It is true on and off the running circuit. We really are in no position to judge another person's journey. We seriously have no idea what it is like to walk in their life's shoes and how we would deal with similar situations. It's not fair to judge them or to place undue expectations on ourselves based on something we really know nothing about!

Don't judge - just run!

In The Beginning

I started running basically for my life. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. All of my days were spent sitting in the hospital with my adult son who was seriously injured in an automobile accident. In general I am a very active person and I was feeling myself go downhill fast. Joining a gym was out of the question since I was not sure what the future looked like or where we would be.

One afternoon I went out to catch up on the laundry and was looking for something different to read when I discovered a popular running magazine. As I was reading it I thought it might be something I could do to help me stay in shape. I figured it could be done anywhere and would have very little expense.

I was so out of shape that I had to "work up" to begin the beginner's program! The initial goal was to run 2 miles, or 30 minutes. It took me two weeks to be able to run one minute and walk two - repeat 10 times! And even then I ran one minute praying each second would go a little faster; and then would walk five before I could run another minute!

I've learned a lot about setting goals! Anything is attainable but you've got to start somewhere. That's a main key in life I think. You cannot finish if you never start. That was one of the first things I learned from running... I'll catch you up on where I am today a little later.. so go start something!