Sunday, November 13, 2011

Running the Run

I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.(1 Corinthians 9:27 NLT)

I turned thirty-one this past September. I'm officially "in my thirties" now. The reality of my impending age wasn't sitting too well with me last spring. Here I was, a wife of nine years, a mother of two, a hardworking educator, and a bit chubbier than I wanted to be. I wasn't getting any younger, either.

That "baby weight" from Ava, then almost two years old, didn't melt off the way the books and pop culture said it would. I had no idea where I would find the time to exercise in my already too-overscheduled day.

And then my school did a Biggest Loser-type competition. I was all in! My competitive nature kicked in and I began to view my weight loss as a goal rather than a burden. All participants weighed in weekly and our percentage of weight lost was calculated. I wasn't the "biggest loser" in the end, but I did come away about 10 pounds lighter and a clothing size smaller. Somehow, I found the time to exercise and eat better.

I realized as I began committing to an exercise routine that if I wanted healthy, active children , I had to model healthy, active behavior.

Once the weather warmed up, I would take one or both kids with me in the jogging stroller. It started as a brisk walk. Then it built to a light jog. I began to go for longer and longer runs. And I got bored. Just like with the weight loss challenge, I knew that I needed something to work for. So I did something very unlike me, something impulsive: I signed up for the Detroit Free Press 5K.

I had never run before this past summer. I swam competitively in high school, but swimming is a totally different sport. What was I thinking!? But that competitive nature kicked in again and gave me something to work towards.

So three to four times a week, I got out for a run, sometimes in the still, early morning before the kiddos awoke, sometimes in the calm, early evening with a kiddo or two in the jogging stroller. Slowly, one foot in front of the other, I progressed.

I ran the 5K on a blustery October morning. And I didn't die. So, I signed up for the Big Bird 4K, which I completed this morning. I'm not fast. I'm not skilled in any way. But I'm giving it my best. And perhaps most importantly, I'm showing my girls how to reach for their goals.

Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians referenced above, is telling his audience to "walk the walk" so that they might preach the gospel message to the world without feeling shame or inadequacy. I identify with that message. I have to model appropriate Christian behavior to my children, students, and coworkers everyday. I often feel like a hypocrite, asking others to do things that I have a hard time doing myself. But it's my goal to do my best.

Our world is moving way faster than Paul's was. Our world doesn't walk anymore. We often need to run to keep up. The lessons I've learned about myself, my body, my limitations, and my strengths, helps me maintain a steady pace. And keep running toward my goals.

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