Jason returns today, after having been gone a little over a week, and I could not be more glad. I have turned into such a ...what would you call it? A sap? (Dad used to call me that if I ever moped about a boy.) I lived alone for 7 years, loving almost every single minute of it and now, after 3 years of marriage, I do not like coming home to an empty house after class or going to church alone on Sunday or having to rely on phone conversations as my only means of communication with Jason.
So, I have filled my week as usual. With running in the mornings, work during the day and No Boundaries or class in the evenings. My mom came and spent two nights with me and that was fun. The other evenings I tried to savor things I would not normally do when Jason is here, such as eating pb&j sandwiches every night and sitting on the couch until bedtime watching the latest Hallmark movie. I also spent the weekend in Fayetteville, and had a wonderful time hanging with Mom and Dad in paradise (aka their land).
As I had planned to do, I went with Mom at 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning to her boot camp workout. Because it was raining, the workout was held in the gym of Riverside Christian Academy where she works as part-time counselor. The guy leading the workout was Adam and he also works at the school. There is usually a bigger group, but this morning it was just Mom, and three other guys plus Adam.
Jason had cautioned me when I told him of this plan to be careful, and he was right in doing so. I have not been cross-training as much as I would like and certainly not enough to keep up with a boot camp workout. With the sore knee and back I'd been battling, I knew I needed to sit out several of the activities. I did help Adam coach Mom, however, and that was fun. "Come on, Mom, push harder." "Pick up your knees." "Are you slowing down?" "That was not 100%!" It felt like some sort of payback.
During the workout, I kept checking the weather outside, but the rain continued. This concerned me. I needed 12.5 miles to get in my 60 for the week, and I was determined I was getting those miles. I returned to the gym and joined the group for their last activities. It was a blast and I spent as much time laughing at myself as I did working out.
At the end of the workout, Adam said a prayer, as he always does. In his prayer he thanked God for allowing us to work our bodies and improve our fitness, but he also asked God to help us remember that our spiritual health was even more important. His words hit me like a punch in the gut. It caused me to stop and consider what my focus had been the past several weeks and I knew without a doubt, it had been on my physical fitness alone. Sure, I talk to God, but usually about the things I want from Him. I don't sit quietly and open myself up for what He might like to say. I don't read His word, but sporadically and hurriedly. I do notice His amazing creation and the fact that this whole running adventure brings me closer to Him, but I knew in that moment I was not as strong spiritually as I was physically.
We said our good-byes and I asked Mom if she would drop me off so that I could start my run. I think she would have run some of it with me, but she was not willing to do it in the rain. She dropped me off at my Aunt Cindy's house, which is about 4 miles from her's, and I began my run. A kid named Ben ran with me for some of it, and Aunt Cindy joined me for a few miles as well. Most of the run was in a steady drizzle, but I did not mind. By mile 10 I was alone and feeling great, loving the beauty of the countryside and the smell of the wet leaves and trees all around. I thought about Adam's prayer and talked to God about my focus and selfishness.
Those last few miles were my favorite. I climbed the long hill to Mom's road, and then the steep hill that was her road as hard as I could go. When my Garmin said I had completed 12.5, I threw my hands in the air in triumph and smiled at the sky. I felt strong. I felt washed clean inside and out (although I still smelled like I'd run 12.5 miles). I took in deep breaths of the cool, green air and thanked God for the experiences of the morning.
That run capped my second 60 mile week, despite two days off for rest. I was excited about that. As September comes to a close, so closes the window of time in which I can improve my fitness for the 50 miler in October. Along with achieving the distances I believed I needed to be ready for that, I received an important reminder on what else I should be training. I plan to work on this. I know that one day this body will grow old and unable to do what I am doing now. I also know that one day I will be given a brand new body, which will have the ability to run and not grow weary, to walk and not faint.
I look forward to that day when I can run for 10,000 years, when miles will seem like mere steps, and there will be no aches and no pains in my body or in my heart. I look forward to spending my first 10,000 years running, with my Savior by my side talking to me of all the things I've never known or understood.
In the meantime I will be training, for my 50 miler and any other races I desire to run, and for the day when I will run in another Place altogether.