Running is hard.
There are times when your feet hurt so badly you want to quit. You question why exactly you’re incessantly pounding pavement and you start making bets when your legs are ACTUALLY going to fall off. If you’ve read my running story, you know that I never thought I’d become a runner. But I have. And even more than that, I even start to crave running (although I can still amp up the drama queen rhetoric of “my lungs are going to explode and legs are going to shatter”).
Running has taught me many things. But perhaps the two most important things I’ve learned are perseverance and discipline. Both of which have permeated other parts of my life.
If you haven’t already figured out that life is hard, well I’m sorry to be the one to have to tell you. But like you build muscles that make your runs easier and you increase your endurance for you to go longer and faster, your life’s experiences continually transform your heart in this very same way.
If you put in the time and effort to train accordingly, the race is manageable. It’s not easy, but you have the tools to get to the finish line. If you learn from your life experiences, you have the tools to persevere through whatever life throws at you. It could be a trip in your path, sprain on a plan or a fractured dream. Life doesn’t spare the difficulties of the unknown, but your experience prepares you to keep moving forward.
It takes a lot of discipline to train for a race. That’s a “no duh!” statement, but it’s so freaking true!! I have to get up at 7am tomorrow (Saturday) to run 15 miles because I’m running the Chicago Marathon in two months. Sometimes after a long day at work, I don’t want to come home and run the 4 miles I have on my training calendar. Of course, there are times I guiltlessly skip my run for the day because I know I need to listen to my body and focus on other aspects of my health, but that is a topic for a different time. There’s a difference between lacking discipline and seeking balance.
With discipline, comes accountability and community. If you think I’m running 15 miles alone tomorrow you are WRONG. My friend (and accountability buddy) and I are tackling it together! Training is possible alone, but you’re more successful if you have someone running alongside you, either physically or metaphorically. You can’t go through life alone, either. You need a community around you that supports you through the ups and the downs, pushing you forward and offering grace when you step backward.
Life is hard.
There’s nothing I can tell you that erases this fact. But your life experiences shape you and mold you into a better version of yourself if you choose to learn from the lessons along the way. Yes, crossing the finish line is great, but the journey is the true destination.