To Those Doing It Anyway

Monday School is inspired by my Saturday morning run and Paul, formerly known as Saul, and the anonymous writer of Hebrews.

Saturday morning is one of my favorite times of the week. I ran earlier than usual and saw several friendly faces on the trails last Saturday. I saw some not-so-friendly faces too. It’s easy to see who is happy to be there and who is not. I passed several couples, and usually, one was cheerful while the other was merely tolerating the morning activity. One couple drove around the park in a golf cart and it was the same way. She smiled as they made the turn around the big tree, but he seemed irritated at the whole thing. One woman walked the trails humming a tune. Later, I smiled at a young man who frowned with the same intensity as he ran.

The people with the scowls on their faces were probably really nice, but maybe they’re not morning people and they’d rather be in bed early on a Saturday morning. Or maybe their significant other asked them to come along. Or maybe the doctor told them they need to move their bodies before it’s too late. Whatever the reason they were out there, this is for them.

And it’s for you and me and anyone out there doing hard things when we don’t feel like doing anything. Or doing the right and good and hard things when we could be doing easy things.

Way to go! Because it means something when we do what we know we should do, when we’re not feeling it. It’s important and it matters.

To do the work, when we’d rather play.

To study for the test to learn, instead of barely passing.

To workout, when we’d rather sleep in.

To say something for someone’s good, when it would go better for us if we were silent.

To forgive, when we’d rather not.

And to love, when it would be easier to turn our backs and walk away.

Paul said a lot about doing hard things. He made many references to athletes, their training, and the races. In his first letter to the Corinthian believers he wrote, “All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.” 9:25-26

He wrote “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

When Paul spoke to the elders at Ephesus he said, “I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”  Acts 20:24

Then near the end of his life, Paul wrote to Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  2 Timothy 4:7

Look at the words Paul used: discipline, training, press on, aim, complete the task, fought, fight. Those are the words of a man that didn’t always feel like doing what he was doing. But he did it and he did it well. He knew his purpose, he fixed his eyes on the prize, and he did what he knew to do.

Fellow journeyer, it’s okay if we don’t feel it all the time. It’s good and right to do what we know to do even when we don’t want to do it. We press on, we aim and we fight.

Then God gives us the moments when we do feel it. We feel the compassion and grace, the tenderness and thankfulness, and the extravagant love. We feel it down deep in our souls and it brings a smile, unexpected tears, or an unreserved joy.

The writer of Hebrews reminds us:

“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  Hebrews 12:1b-2a

Jesus started it and he’ll finish it…..now let us press on and fight the good fight.

Photo by Emma Simpson on Unsplash

Making It Happen

Next week I’ll fly to Tampa to run in my last race of the year. The longest and most challenging one yet.

IMG_5897A group of us started training in January and next week we’ll get to experience the joy of accomplishing what we set out to do……..the reward of almost 12 months of dedication and hard work.

Our goal: The Spartan Trifecta – to conquer a Sprint, Super, and Beast in one calendar year.

This race is the final piece of our Trifecta. The culmination of all our training and commitment. It will be grueling, but oh the joy will be sweet.

Because the longer and harder you work…….the more it means.

And this means a lot. Three years ago I couldn’t run a quarter mile without stopping. I’ve come a long way since the Couch to 5K app and running my first 5K in 2015.

I’m not sure what’s next in my journey but whatever it is I plan to work at it with as much courage and dedication and surround myself with those that will cheer me on, push me, and lift me up when needed.

I couldn’t do this alone. These women and my family have been a vital part of my conquering.

So here’s to setting goals and making them happen. Here’s to taking on new challenges and overcoming obstacles. And here’s to doing it with some of the most beautiful and strongest people I know.

No compromising here.

Together Again

IMG_5264I raced in my 2nd Spartan Sprint at Fort Benning, Georgia this weekend.

Before you’re tempted to think I’m a hard core athlete or a fitness guru, let me tell you, I am not. I’m a 40-something wife and mother of three who ran my first 5K two years ago in honor of my mother and to support the local hospice organization that helped care for her.

Something changed when I trained for and finished my first race though. I wrote about my journey from believing I could never run to finishing my first 5K in a post called Run.

I continued to train for other races on my own but then joined a group of women training for our first Spartan Race last summer. It was incredible. I wrote about that too in my post Together and here we are together again.

Something special happens when you join a group of people working toward running a hard race. You show up to the workouts when you’d rather not. You work harder because you see the others working harder. You cheer for one another and learn from each other. Then it becomes something more than working out together. You talk and laugh and get to know each other. You conquer fears together. You share life stuff and you care about these people. You want to do your best in the race and you want them to do their best too.

I realize this race wasn’t my race….it was our race. Each one of the ladies in our group made me better in some way. I run better. I’m stronger. I’m more confident. I have more fun. All because of these amazing women! 17862733_625164908415_649471229968310966_n

As part of my Live Like It Matters Challenge, I challenge you to do the same. Gather a group of people…..friends, co-workers, family, whoever and set a goal to do something hard. Find a local 5K and train for it together. Pick a Relay for Life event and raise a certain amount of money together then participate. Gather a team and train to compete in dragon boat races. Do a Warrior Dash or a fun run with your kids.

There are one hundred creative ways to do something hard with a group of people.

Because the thing is:  we are better together.

Always have been.

Now go. Gather. Train. And live like it matters.

Satisfaction

A Good Path

A good path in the early morning is just right for my better runs. Optimum conditions for my best runs are high energy levels, a crisp 42 degrees with sunshine, and a lengthy path.

Most days I will have one or the other. One day the weather will be perfect but my feet feel like bricks. The next run day I feel spry but the weather is warmer than I like. The path is generally the same at my local park.  I take a 2 mile loop a couple of times for a good run. But occasionally I get to run in a different place on a brand new path. Like when we were in Boulder last October and I explored part of the town on the various running trails. Or when I run with a friend and she takes me on a new trail.

I ran a new path this weekend. My goal was 6.2 miles. The conditions were not in my favor. It was a balmy 67 degrees and my energy was low. But I needed this run and I wanted to explore the beauty of the state park we were in. I just wasn’t sure where to start, or which way to go……

So I started running. Almost a mile in I realized the path I was on ended. I turned around, running at a good pace, enjoying my surroundings and saw a trail marker for a hiking trail through the woods. We’d hiked parts of the trail the day before and I remembered there were other trails off that one I wanted to explore. I knew this would slow my pace but I couldn’t resist the urge to be in the woods. The trail was familiar at first but then I realized I wasn’t where I thought I’d be. I finally ran into an open path near the road. My 6.3 mile run took me over hills, near the water, through the shaded woods, into the bright sunlight, beside a golf course and around the park swimming area.

The run was hard.

And it was glorious.

The tough parts were worth the beautiful parts.

“Now you’ve got my feet on the life path,
all radiant from the shining of your face.
Ever since you took my hand,
I’m on the right way.”                        Psalm 16:11  MSG