Monday, November 29, 2010

Running is Like...

I had a simply marvelous Thanksgiving holiday.  I enjoyed the time with Jason, the time with our families, the shopping with Mom, the food and the time away from my office.  My house looks downright FABULOUS if I do say so myself (and I do).  

One thing I particularly loved about my holiday time was the running.  I didn't have to get up at 4:45a.m. and hit the streets.  It was nice to run in the sunshine under a blue sky with my pink sunglasses and my green shorts.  It was cool enough to run far, and warm enough to work up a good sweat.  I allowed my legs and my mind to wander down any road they chose, and I enjoyed the freedom and the solitude immensely. 

On Wednesday (my housewife day) I ran the 3 miles to my sister's house to feed her animals and then ran home. I must insert here that since I moved to Madison seven years ago, I have lived within about a mile radius of myself. Because of this my running routes stayed relatively the same despite the moving from a condo to a house of my own, to a house with Jason.  

As I ran the familiar route to my sister's house, I approached a hill that used to be a difficult one.  I remembered when getting all the way to the top was a big deal and when being able to keep running once I got to the top was a major accomplishment.  It was many years before that hill became just another bit of running route.  Sure, it still gets my heart rate up a little higher, but I hardly notice it now.  There are many hills like that among my running routes and I enjoy revisiting them when I get a chance.  It is almost like I want to grin and say, "Just look at me now. You thought you had me beaten, but look at me NOW."

And sometimes I'm not just saying that to the hill, but to the past as well.  As I run these familiar streets, I remember what was going on in my life when I ran them in the past.  So much has happened in the last seven years.  I have run these streets with a heart full of joy, sorrow, doubt, fear, anger, curiosity, hope...

And while these streets stayed the same, I have changed quite a bit - as a person and as a runner.  Most of this change has been good and I love seeing how far I've come, what I've learned, how I've grown.  I look back and I see how things did or did not turn out the way I wanted, and either way it was usually a good thing (and a God thing).

Sometimes I laugh at the girl I used to be.  She was so silly about so many things.  There was so much she didn't know, but thought she understood.  She made mistakes, but most of them taught her something important.  And for some reason, in the end, she always came out okay.  I'm not sure why that is, but I'm grateful for it.  Looking back, it is easy to see God's fingerprints all over the experiences of the past seven years.

What stands out to me is how the things that used to seem difficult, like there was no right answer, like there was no way to get passed it or through it, and nothing good could possibly come from it...they don't seem like that anymore.  The large, monstrous hills that were so hard to climb seem like anthills now.  And what's more, I'm glad to climb them.  I actually enjoy the challenge.  I like the way my legs burn, the way my heart beats harder and my breath comes faster.  Those hills make me stronger, so when I'm faced with a bigger hill, or a hill I must climb when I've already run a long way, I can handle it.

So running is  The more I experience, the more I learn about myself, about my God, about the people around me, about how to handle the more difficult things that come my way.  That does not mean I have it all figured out.  On the contrary, I realize that I know less and less as I learn more and more.  But I can learn from the past. I can see how getting over those obstacles, those hills made me who I am today.  And the more hills I climb, the stronger I get and the more confidence I have when faced with a new one.

I love that.


  1. I love that too! Well said. I just "found" an iPod playlist of "running songs" that I used when I was walking 4 miles twice a day almost 5 years ago when I was going through a VERY horrible divorce. As I clicked from song to song I was flooded with the memories of walking off years off pain....and I'm transported in my mind to the route I took. I would love to go back to that place now and run those same streets, replacing those memories with new ones. But, the truth is I wouldn't be who I am today without having been through that experience.

    Yes, running is EXACTLY like life.

  2. Wow! What an amazing thing to find! You should go on that run. I think it would be a powerful thing to do.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Jane,

    wonderful post! Can I quote some of it? I'm writing a book on suffering, and some of this would fit perfectly.


    BTW - My Facebook subtitle is "The more I learn, the less I know. If I learn anything else, I won't know anything at all."

  4. I love that, too. Enjoyed running with you this weekend. :-)

  5. Sure Jack, use anything you want. Great subtitle!

    Brandi, it was great running with you as well!!! And congrats on 3 minutes off your 20 miler! That is so awesome!