Tonight I went running.
For many people all over the world, running isn’t a big deal. It’s is a way of life, a means of coping with stress or disease or any other number of things, or a great way to stay in shape, or just plain fun. And at one point or another, running has been all of these things for me.
It started my sophomore year of high school, when one of my best friends asked me to join the cross-country team with her because she was supposed to do it for tennis conditioning. I agreed and thought if nothing else, it would look good on my college applications in a few years.
Then things changed. I was actually pretty decent. I wasn’t outstanding, but for lacking much experience before that, I wasn’t too bad. I actually held my own, and I got to go with the varsity team to districts. I was a runner, and it was awesome.
That was almost nine years ago. My body doesn’t work the same way it once did, and my running (or lack thereof for stretches of time) has also looked really different. I have so much more going on now than I did then, I can’t figure out how to fit in a six mile run during the week. When it was practice, I had to be there and I had to do it! But now I have a husband, a job, a house church, and a million other things that I can easily slide in front of running on my list of priorities.
If I don’t run for a while, it’s not so bad. I get kind of frustrated, restless, disappointed in myself, but I tell myself that I’m a busy person and one day I’ll be able to make exercise more important.
But really, what’s worse than not running is when I start running again. Probably because it isn’t really running – it’s a mess. Every single time I’m so surprised at how quickly my body has lost its conditioning, like not maintaining mileage really doesn’t play a huge role in whether or not I can even really run at all.
And then I’m a bigger sort of frustrated, restless, and disappointed. I’m ticked, even. Because I’m tired of starting over. I’m tired of comparing where I am to where I was, and I’m even more tired of wondering when where I am will start to look like where I want to be. And I look at my life and see these ideas repeating themselves: my marriage, my friendships, my career. I want to be where I dream of being and I want to be there now and I don’t want to have to be consistent, because that requires a huge amount of effort.
But then I lace up my shoes and walk out the door, and just like everything else, it’s one step at a time.
And with my Creator marking pace beside me, I can handle anything.
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Laura Hyers is a Tampa native, writer, and the newly wed wife of musician Caleb. She recently graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in literature and is currently teaching preschool. When not chasing a class of two-year-olds, Laura is writing and fighting fierce bouts of wanderlust. She loves music, reading, being near the ocean, and dreaming big over huge cups of coffee with her best friend Lakin. Laura blogs at http://littlebirdmarie.wordpress.com.
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