Oh the perspective I have gained by running… where do I even begin.
Well, there is the whole alone with your thoughts thing that is really pretty special and unique about running. I mean, I guess you can get pretty alone with your thoughts on a long drive, but you have to at least sort of pay attention when you’re driving. Running, not so much. You can basically zone out entirely. Actually, it’s preferable!
So running has really helped me to gain some perspective on why I’m running, what it’s all about, and also, what the heck I’m supposed to be doing next in my life. Yes, we’re talking deep thoughts here Readers.
Why am I running? Well, I’ve thought a lot about that as I’ve contemplated quitting. I know you’re all shocked to hear that I contemplate quitting things, but let me just tell you I’m a human being. I promise. This is hard, man. But then I remember that that is actually why I decided to start running to begin with. I don’t like not doing things just because my perception of them is that they’re hard. And I don’t like that I have limits that I’ve put on myself. So I decided to start running, despite the fact that I don’t run and hate to run (and can’t honestly say that I ‘like’ it now that I’ve started), because I didn’t want to keep telling myself that I just wasn’t a runner. Because that’s just silly.
So once I started running, I’m out there thinking about St. Jude’s and this whole raise money and awareness thing because of all the running and I got to thinking… isn’t life just the most crazy thing sometimes? Here’s the deal… I don’t know about a lot of things. Charities are one of the things I don’t know about. I just want to put that out there. But St. Jude’s IS one of the charities I’m pretty dang familiar with. I remember being a kid and going to McDonalds and seeing the little change collection at the order counter and asking my parents about what the change was for. They told me about St. Jude’s and how it’s a hospital that takes care of kids with cancer for free! That left an impression on me big time! I thought it was absolutely the coolest thing, and I couldn’t imagine how they did that with pennies and nickels, but I liked what they were doing. I even remember thinking, more than once in my life, that if I ever did anything for a charity it would be for St. Jude’s.
I said yes to doing this half marathon not knowing that it was a St. Jude’s half marathon and also not having any idea at all that people run these stupid things to raise money for causes! Who actually knew?!
There are no coincidences. So I’m super excited to be running this for St. Jude’s and if I never run another 1/2 marathon again- and I may not- I’m glad that this one played out the way that it’s playing out.
So the last question that I find myself pondering while I’m out there running with my thoughts is ‘what am I supposed to be doing next in my life.’ Readers, in no uncertain circumstances, God is telling me that I need to… no I MUST… write a book. Yes, I’m a writer here on this blog, so maybe that’s not surprising to some of you that I would have that thought, but writing a blog about a singular idea or about what happened on the farm this month is very different than writing an entire book!
But again, what’s funny about this message from God is… I already knew I was supposed to write a book this year. If you look at the blog I wrote at the beginning of the year called ‘goals! whose got them,’ you’ll remember that were prompted to choose three main goals or objectives to tackle for the year. Just three goals, out of the dozens of things that we would surely like to do in a years time like lose weight, travel to a certain location, get a promotion, save a certain amount of money, etc. Well, my three goals were to get out a certain sector of debt, to achieve a certain specific goal in my business, and write a book. Honestly, even as I wrote it down there as one of just three things that I was going to commit to giving time to this year, I had zero idea of how that would actually happen!
Yet, in the pasture, as I run, God says I must. So here’s the story: I thought I knew what I was going to write about. I had a story in mind, and I do still think it’s compelling and worth writing… one day… but this book that I’m writing now (yes, I’ve started it) feels important and urgent. It’s kind of strange how much God is putting it in my face. Even now that I’ve started writing it, I still feel like God can’t get it out of me fast enough. I’ve completed the introduction and four chapters and I feel good about that, but I’ve also set a goal to complete the book by my 35th birthday, which would be September 15th. So if you’re the praying type, send up a quick one about this book, a clear message and what the heck the steps will be once it’s written.
So in the pasture, these are the things that come into my head. The book, the mission, the next steps, the purpose for what’s to come for me… all the heavy things. That’s been an unexpected delight, as I do love a good perspective shift and the opportunity to really look at things deeply.
Sorry for the interruption to the blog about running, we’ll now be returning to the subject at hand…
As I shared in a recent blog, I’ve actually done some damage to myself while on this running adventure. I pulled my hamstring (only a huge muscle that is necessary for any kind of leg movement throughout your day) and also seem to have a weak knee, or maybe just poor stretching routines, and most certainly insufficient shoes. So that’s been an obstacle. I’m not one to slow down, I’m not a quitter and I don’t do the whole ‘rest’ thing well either. So when my friend suggested I rest my leg and stop running for four weeks, I was a bit flabbergasted. I had worked my way up to six miles! I could run six miles! I couldn’t stop climbing that ladder! I had to keep running! So I compromised with myself. I rested for 10 days and then I stopped resting. Hey, that’s what I could offer to me.
Again, as mentioned in a recent blog, I had signed up for a 5K before I injured my leg. I had never ‘raced’ before and felt like I needed the experience. Also, I had only run outside the pasture once, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to broaden my horizons on that front as well. So I rested until the day before the race, which was on the 4th of July, and then I ran two miles just to see how I felt. Truly, I wasn’t nearly as sore as I expected to be in my leg or knee. And so I decided to go ahead with the race the following day.
Readers, I have never run a 5K in my entire life and I came in 2nd place in my age group on this race. As my friend Mo says, “I don’t say that to impress you, I say that to impress upon you…” that what we tell ourselves matters. It matters. If you tell yourself that you can’t do something… you can’t! If you tell yourself that you’re not that type of person or you could never do something like that, you won’t be able to. That doesn’t make you right, it just makes you presently unable. It’s not that you’re not qualified to do it, you just haven’t yet. You can disable yourself from achieving pretty much anything if you allow those thoughts to become truths.
Be careful about that.
So yes, I came in second. But I didn’t even realize that until I was home and showered. I wasn’t there for the prize (which was a wine glass– this running thing isn’t so bad at all!!), I was there because I once thought I couldn’t do it. As I worked on teaching my daughter spelling and grammar in homeschool first grade this week, it occurred to me that ‘couldn’t’ and ‘wouldn’t’ are just one letters difference. Just one small swap, and your can’t becomes a can.
Make the shift!
Trust me, you’ll be glad you did. And don’t be surprised when that first step in a new direction reveals to you the BIG steps in the NEXT direction.
If you feel so inclined and are able to donate to support my running adventure and- more importantly- the patients at St. Jude’s, please donate here.
If 220 people donate $20, we’ll surpass my goal of $5000 raised for these kiddos. Let’s do it together, I know we can.