Yesterday I decided I was going to run outside today. It was a big decision. I hadn't run outside since my last half marathon. Which also meant I hadn't run more the 3.82 miles since that date. I know, weird milage...3.82...but hey you try to run any farther on a treadmill! BORING! So this morning I woke up knowing what was coming, five miles and outside. Church came first and was yet again the highlight of my week (we will talk about this in a second) and then came OUTSIDE...dundundaaaaaa! I went home, changed into all my new gear and felt a little bit like the girl in Tin Cup. Remember her? She came to get golf lessons and she had all the new high tech stuff and he just tells her...grip it and rip it! Which by the way is the premise of my golf lessons to my little munchkins every summer. :) I felt so bizarre because usually when I run outside its, well, hot out, so all I need is shorts, a tank and my iPod. Today was much different, much more clothes were added and well it was time to go the distance, five whole miles. Five miles in the long run seems a bit foolish, heck I have to on June 26 run 26.2 miles. If I do my calculations correct that is 21.2 miles MORE then I ran today. I'm screwed.
Okay moving on here are some things I noticed today while running:
1. I love my new running pants!
2. Running ear protector is a must for me considering I think I have the wimpiest ears known to man kind.
3. Charlie Daniels' "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" made me run really fast in my second mile.
4. When I started running I didn't event get .23 miles in before the dreaded side ache came into play. It was my bodies way of reminding me how much it hates running outside...or for that fact...running. The side ache lasted about 2 miles and then went away.
5. About the time of my side ache started I also noticed something coming from the rear...my behind was jiggling. I mean, I felt a little embarrassed. That went away a little bit into the run. Thank goodness. I almost died of embarrassment right then and there.
6. At about mile 3.5 I was having a bit of a hard time picking up my feet which I am pretty sure is essential to running. All of a sudden I sneezed. Okay that didn't help, but when I looked up from my sneeze it was like God sent me this woman. She was running the opposite way, wearing what else? A "Seattle Rock n Roll Marathon" finishers t-shirt. "Thank you Jesus that you sent me her"; I picked up my feet and kept running. I was reminded of the goal. About five minutes later I say another woman with the same thing on. I figured that was God's way of saying "Uhhh, Shelbs get it moving....you are running kind of slow", so I said "FINE GOD" (with a 'tude of course) and I kicked it into fifth gear until the finish.
7. I could see my car. I was less then a half a mile away from it. And then out of no where, my hip. Oh my hip started to kill. Little background, my hip has always bugged me while running long distances. But this time I decided I wasn't going to take it anymore. I screamed at my hip "look sistah...we are running here and you are not going to get in my way so pull it together!" Yea that didn't work...it kept hurting but at least I knew I had the upperhand. :)
This morning in church I was struck with something that I knew God was placing on my heart. Pastor Richard was preaching on Romans 1:1-7. I don't really like calling it preaching. Sometimes I think "preaching" can have a bad connotation. So I will instead say...Richard was shooting it straight. He talked about how the gospel of Christ is for all nations; all corners of the world, all neighbors, all people. So many times we get caught in this mind set of "well a 'real Christian'_______". The blank can be anything; real Christians don't drink wine, real Christians don't wear shorts, real Christians don't see movies, real Christians aren't Democrat, real Christians don't believe in x, y, z ect ect ect. We, and when I say we I mean ME, do this all the time. It is so embarrassing for me to think that I have put my faith in Christ, the one person that is the embodiment of love and I am not following His lead. The list that we all create of what "real Christians" are, is the same list that divides us from fulfilling our call to make the world a different place. The fact of that matter is, when someone puts their heart in the hands of God and says "you take it, I can't do this on my own. I will follow you and call you Lord" then they are a REAL Christian.
This same thought came to me again when I was running. Whenever I see a runner who is all out running, I mean huffing it, looking like a gazelle and usually wearing a "finishers" t-shirt on, I usually say "S/he is a REAL runner." But what the heck? I mean I know I don't look like them, but I did just waddled five miles. Some people might have even said I actually ran it. I passed a woman who was barely putting one foot in front of the other, but I know she thought she was still running, and the fact was, she was. So doesn't that make us real runners? I hope so, because if not I really don't know what I'm doing.
Richard finished with reminding us that God is not mad at us for thinking this way. He's not? I'm pretty sure that if I had millions of people following me and they did something as dumb as what I do everyday I would be pretty mad. I might even call them dumb dumbs or knuckleheads. Okay maybe not. Or maybe. No, in fact God showers us with grace everyday. He loves us more then we can even comprehend. He knows if our hearts are pointed towards Him. He knows if we gave our lives to Him, believing that nothing can happen through us, unless something happened to us. And something did happen to me and the rest of us that follow Christ; He died so we call live. And now He is trying to make things happen through us.
"God I want You to use me. Use me Christ. Find the places in my heart that need fixing. Lord I love YOU! Use me Lord."
But those who hope in the Lord they will renew their strength. They will soar on the wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31