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the joy of running

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If you’ve been following me for a while (either via the blog or snapchat), you know I’m an avid runner. I’m currently training for the ASICS half marathon in Napa, which is less than a week away! I completed my last long run today (12 miles) before the race, and during these 90ish minutes, I had alot of time to think about what it is about running that truly brings me so much life and joy.

There are a million reasons why running is so good for you, physically – for your heart, burning calories, building stamina, etc. Those are all great motivations for running, but something about long distance running also does amazing things for me on a mental and spiritual level even.

During long distance runs (which I would consider anything above 6 miles a long run), I’ve always loved listening to worship music or taking that time to pray – for Michael, each member of my family, and anything on my heart. It’s a beautiful time where I have at least an hour to just talk to God, uninterrupted by anyone or anything.

So I’ve always loved that about distance running – but something new occurred to me today. The process of long distance running is a beautiful thing. I woke up this morning around 7am on a Saturday to get my long run. Got dressed, took all my favorite Advocare products, and drove to White Rock Lake. The first 3 miles of a long run are always tough for me because the whole time I’m kind of thinking “shoot, I could just turn around and not do this today”. After I pass the 3 mile mark though, I’m kind of in my stride from 3-6. Miles 6-8 I’m usually feeling like “you’re doing great! you’ve so got this. not too much further!”, as I’m jamming out to some of my favorite songs.

Then, the wall hits. It hits me everytime around mile 8 – especially today because it was much hotter than usual. My legs are starting to get tired, mentally my brain is ready to be done with this run – but I know I’ve still got a ways to go. The wall usually lasts until mile 10ish. That’s my “mind over matter” moment. I tell myself things like “you are strong, your legs are strong and they are still moving, you can do this, you’ve done this before” etc. (Yes, I talk to myself on these long runs!)

After I break through that wall, and know I only have about a mile or two left, insert runner’s high. I feel like I’m on top of the world and my legs feel like they go on autopilot – they just keep moving without me even trying. By the end of the run, I just feel so thankful for a healthy body that’s strong, that just carried me through 12 or 13 miles! I feel so proud that my body and mind pushed through that wall when all I wanted to do was stop.

So, it occurred to me today that I love this aspect of long distance running because I think it so correlates with life. There are going to be days we wake up ready to take on the world and kick butt, and there will be days when we wake up and all we want to do is stay in bed, for whatever reason. Maybe you’re just extra emotional that day, or maybe you’re going through a heart break, or battling anxiety. Regardless though, when we push through those “walls” or road blocks, there is hope and joy on the other side. You just have to remind yourself “I am strong. The Lord has equipped me for this day, regardless of how I may or may not feel right now”. Keep pushing through; I promise it’s worth it and that there is so much joy to be had on the other side of that wall.

Maybe you’re not a long distance runner and the thought of running 12 miles makes you want to die – which is totally okay! Not everyone has to love long distance running. But I encourage you today to get outside and be active – push your body physically and mentally, and be thankful that you have a strong and healthy body!

 

xo Lauren

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