I love running. It's been a huge help for staying in shape and getting to know people in our town, but let's just say this year did not go how I envisioned.
It started out at the beginning of 2013. Knee pain.
I would rehab, slow down, try to strengthen my legs, and go again and....knee pain again.
The whole year so far has felt like a physical see-saw of exercise/injury/rehab/reboot.
Then I finally got to where I was feeling pretty good, and I was getting ready for a local race, and....I got sick. No running for over a week and a half.
By the time I was training again, I knew that I wouldn't have time to really prepare well for my next race.
So, I decided to have fun. Crazy concept I know.
I got up on the morning of the race, got ready and headed out. It was a trail run, which I was excited for, cuz there aren't many trail races here.
Normally, when I run, I have an annoying mantra to remind myself to get going, like F.O.D. (Short for: Fat Old Dad) the idea being that I don't want to be one of those so I should run faster...or something equally inspiring.
Which I did... depending on your definition of running. Sometimes it was more like a muddy waddle.
But I had to admit, I was having the time of my life. Outside, soaking up God's creation, early morning, beautiful weather, in the middle of a Philippine forest...It was awesome.
I stopped thinking so much about the race time I was getting, and more about the time I was having.
Towards the end, I kept trading places with another runner, he would lead, then I would lead. Finally, on the last, ridiculously steep hill, I decided it was now or never. I poured on all the coal that my approaching-four-decades-old body could give, and "sprinted" the rest of the way up the hill and the last few hundred meters to the finish line. I sprinted straight through the finish, not even doing my customary hand-on-my-wristwatch-to-stop-the-stop-watch-so-I-get-my-exact-time ritual. I finished, stopped, then stopped my time.
After a year of exercise ups and downs, this race was a great reminder of why we exercise. For me, it's fun. But more than that, it's a habit I'm trying to model for my kids. It's a chance to enjoy nature. It's a way to show respect for the life and the body that God has given me. It's good discipline. And all my kids want to run a race now.
And... Hey, that's not why I run. But, umm...it sure don't hurt.
Just have fun. Just go run!