Before coming away on holidays I was going out for a run 3 to 5 times per week for between 3 to 5 kms each time. I felt energised and a bit healthier when I went running and so I thought that it would be best for me to bring my running stuff with me on holidays as I surely would be able to keep up the practice in the 6 weeks we were away. I am ashamed and frustrated to say that I have carted this athletic stuff with me in my suitcase halfway across the world and I haven’t touched it once. Not once! Not even close.
In each and every destination there have been good reasons for me not to head out. Some places were too hilly (I can’t run hills) or too industrial and on major roads or in the heart of the city (so too many people would see me). Some places I didn’t have time to fit a run in before we needed to be out and about, or I was way too tired from the day before’s activities. I don’t have international phone coverage so I couldn’t easily map a route that I wouldn’t get lost on (I am geographically challenged), or it was raining or it was hot. In Rome, for example, I would do an ankle trying to run on the cobblestones while avoiding motorbikes and other tourists.
I had the best of intentions to give me the best opportunity to do this. We even looked to see if we could do any overseas Parkruns while we were away, but we were staying in locations that made it unachievable. What I realise is that I am the queen of good intentions, but without action there is no real benefit. Unfortunately, thinking about exercise does in no way bring any physical reward, otherwise I would be an athlete of Olympic proportions!
I can justify it many ways, as I have mentioned. I have my reasons (excuses) as to why I can’t head out for a run, even a little one. Yes, I know, these are all pretty lame excuses, and I dread the effort it will take to regain the fitness level I had. What I am noticing is just how much I miss running, and more particularly, running on my familiar routes. I find it amusing to say this, as I would never have thought this was something I would ever say. It would seem that running has become important to me.
I know I have mentioned it before, but there are a number of bible verses that speak about perseverance, and overcoming obstacles and the importance of running your race and doing it well (eg. Acts 20 v 24; 1 Corinthians 9 v 24; Hebrews 12 v 1). The race spoken of is that of living a life of faith and demonstrating God’s love and grace to those you encounter.
I have been thinking about the fact that this race is MY race, no one else’s. It is the course mapped out for me by God and it can feel familiar and like home. But there are times in life when we find ourselves in unfamiliar spiritual surroundings and we are not quite sure of the terrain and how to navigate it. We have a choice, then, how to handle it. We can still head out and give it a go, knowing that we have headed out on unfamiliar ground before and survived, or we can give up without even trying.
I am proud to say that my spiritual race practice is way better than my physical one. I can’t imagine a scenario when I have decided to not bother with my spiritual run. I have come close, but I haven’t succumbed to the excuses that I so readily offer in other areas. I am not trying to say that I don’t complain about it, or wish things were different, or even get super grumpy with God about the course I face. I do all of those things, but keep going. So I fully believe that if I can do it, you can too.
We have been home now for a few days, and yesterday morning we headed out for our Parkrun 5kms. I was planning to walk it, but I couldn’t help myself … I ran for 3km and loved it. So glad to be back, and wondering why I let the mind games stop me from being able to say that I have been running in other countries.
Oh well, maybe next time.