I’ve been running for over three months now. That’s a record for me!
Oh, I’ve run before. But now, thanks to my good friends and co-workers Wendy and Evangeline, I get up at 4:40am every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning. We run together (and separately, all at our own paces and with personal goals) at school. We run while the stars disappear, while the sky is painted pink and purple, while the breezes blow cool air, and while just the guards are there, turning off the lights one by one.
Because we run, I run. Because Wendy and Evangeline are there, I get up and go.
(Getting more coffee pods on a girls’ morning out with Evangeline and Wendy)
Because Wendy and Evangeline are there, my runs are redeemed.
You may or may not know this, but I’ve spend a large portion of my life (well over half at this point) worrying about how I look. By the time I started college, that looked like a super-limited wardrobe (neutrals, anyone?) so no one would look at me. Depending on the time, the stress of life in general, and all manner of other variables, it also meant controlling my food and exercise to manage my appearance.
For the most part, I got frustration and emptiness in pursuit of this “ideal.” What I didn’t realize at the time, though, was that I also lost the joys of these good gifts: food and exercise. By grasping for control, I unwittingly gave up the chance to really taste and see God’s goodness in delicious food, the community of the table, and a body that is capable of moving, sweating, and getting stronger.
While I wouldn’t say that those concerns are forever gone, I find delight in the redemption of these gifts. The discipline of exercising in community (with running and with some strength building- shout out to the FB groups and Marla for inviting me!) has transformed it from a fear-based reaction to a healthy habit. Instead of working out because I’m worried and trying to control something, anything, I can work out because it’s good for me. Many mornings, I even enjoy it. (And when I don’t enjoy the exercise, I do enjoy the company. Yay for friends!)
There was a time when I despaired of being able to eat or exercise in freedom. The journey is definitely one step at a time, but I think I’m ready to run.