Saturday mornings I wake up at 4:30am and prepare for my long run that I usually do with a couple friends. This morning I woke and was flooded with anxiety and doubt.
I began noticing every tiny ache or pain and thinking of how I could use it as an excuse to cut my run short. I had every intention of only running 4 miles today, blaming a pain in my ankle. It was 4:30 in the morning, I was tired, I ate pizza yesterday which is COMPLETELY out of my healthy eating plan, and last week I really struggled with the route that I would again be running today because it is full of steep hills. I was allowing myself to be beaten down by the enemy.
I got around, hydrated, ate a small pre-run meal and put on my running clothes. I grabbed my socks and shoes and started to lace them up and thought “just suck it up and do it. You have no real excuse. You’re not injured, you’re intimidated.” So I got in the car to drive to the starting point of my route and began to pray. I asked for the strength, the endurance, and the confidence to be able to complete this run.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
Christ gives us strength, He knows what it means to endure. A run is nothing compared to the pain He endured while on earth. But He promised to give us strength, and in that moment I decided to rely on Him to get me through this.
I think many will agree that the biggest challenge in running is the mental aspect of it. We often have the physical strength to actually run, but mentally we are weak. It takes an incredible amount of mental discipline to run a marathon; to tell yourself that you’ll be OK, to just keep going even though it hurts. This is why running brings me closer to God. I don’t have the discipline, the focus, the confidence or the mental strength to run on my own. But every time I call on Him, God provides.
After a moment of quiet prayer in the car I was at peace and I was ready. I pulled up to our starting point, said hello to my friends and we were on our way. As I said, this route is tough for me because it is full of steep hills, and I typically don’t run hills very often. Every other Saturday I have fallen behind my group and had to stop and walk to try and get the cramps out of my side after hauling up those hills.
Today was different. My body felt strong, even comfortable, the entire time. Even the largest hill that I dread the entire way didn’t slow me a bit. I ran up it without even being winded. “Wow!” I thought, “Are we running slower than last week?” No, our pace was actually 20 seconds faster than last week’s. And this time I didn’t get left behind.
So why was I struggling with so much fear? Because today my fullest potential was going to be unlocked, and the devil didn’t want to see that happen. My friend Hannah shared this last night and it couldn’t be more perfect:
“Keep your head up. Don’t look back. The pain is momentary. The finish is worth it. We run because our God is good.”