Today’s run was one of those ugly, demoralizing events that made me question whether I should just throw in the towel, quit trying to rebuild my running base and take up competitive eating. I think I would be really good at that. I’m not that great at running.
Yes, it was ugly. If you live in the south, you know that it’s hot. No, I said that wrong. IT’S. HOT. Insanely hot. Even for me, who really likes to sweat. Especially if, through your own laziness and forgetfulness, you get up late, forget there’s a 5k at your usual running spot, and have to drive 15 minutes to another one. No one to blame but me. I know I need to be running no later that 6:15, so when I don’t get up until then, I’m already in a deficit. Anyway, enough complaining. It was hot, I was late, it was hard, it was ugly, but I got it done. Four miles, even. You did not want to be downwind from me when it was done. And, if there’s any cell phone video of it while it was happening, I’m going to be needing that. No one else needs to see just how ugly it really was.
Today’s run (and other recent doozies) was a reminder to me that nothing worthwhile (like good health) is easy to obtain. I’ve managed to let me health decline, while allowing my weight to creep up, and it’s just going to take awhile to get back to the starting line. As my wise daughter texted me the other day, “I wish getting fat hurt as much as getting fit.” Ain’t it the truth. (She’s so far from fat that’s almost laughable, but she knows the struggle is real, so she’s putting the effort in early.) If getting fat hurt as much as getting fit did, I know for a fact I would be a size 2. Running hurts. Pizza feels good. Not eating bread sucks. I’m sorry, there’s just no other way to really say that.
It’s physically and mentally painful to get fit. It often requires more effort than I’m willing to give it, and this time of year, in South Mississippi, it takes 10 times the amount of effort it took just three short weeks ago.
I know why I do it. I want to be healthy. I love to live life; scuba diving, hiking, exploring, letting my feet and lungs take me places others never get to go. I have a hunger to experience life that it seems only my feet can fill. I like the way the world looks from the trail. And, I can’t run that trail, hike that hill, dive that reef, even walk all day in a new city, if I don’t keep chasing that running dream. For me, it’s that simple.
The reality of that 5 am wake up call is something else altogether.
Which brings me to that “D” word.
That verse is the first one I ever committed to memory as an adult out of need. It’s meant various things to me over the years. I’ve called it forth when I was fearful of something, whether it was as simple as singing a solo in church, or as monumental as trying to mend relationships that seemed broken beyond repair. At this point in my life, the “D” word is the one that jumps out. Yes, Discipline. Yuk. There are several translations of the words “self-discipline”, some translate it as “sound mind”, others as “self-control”. This is my favorite translation.
As I’ve pulled it into my heart this week in a daily reminder, I realized something that I don’t think I ever thought of before. This is a gift God has given me. The ability to discipline myself. Discipline as a gift? That had to settle in awhile before I grasped the absolute loveliness of it.
As with all His gifts, He’s given me the choice of whether to receive it or not. I can continue in my life as I have: sleeping in, eating/drinking too much, not allowing this gift of discipline to take hold in my life and set me on the path towards my goals; or I can embrace it with open arms and let it fill me with determination (another “D” word). I choose the latter.
Sigh. I really miss pizza.