One month ago today I completed my third half marathon.
I ran my first half marathon in 2005 in 2 hours and 2 minutes.
I ran my second half marathon in 2006 in 2 hours and 12 minutes.
Then I had two children.
I ran my third half marathon in 1 hour and 52 minutes.
Running has weaved its path through my life since the time I was young...
Dashing to the fountain and back, a mile by our dad's car's calculations, when I fought with my brothers. Jogging around the neighborhood on crisp winter mornings with my dad and brothers. Sprinting to outrun my dog Ernie at the end of a four mile run. Winning my first cross country race ever. Learning that my family loved me just as much on my worst day, dropping out mid race, as my best day, winning the state meet. Missing cross country so much that I quit playing basketball in college. Surviving the humidity and heat of July in St. Louis and the cold and wind of January in Nebraska. Learning to run while being stared at during my semester in India. Running trails with Matt even before we had gone on a date. Getting engaged while on a run. Training for a marathon around the same three mile loop in India. Coaching and running with my cross country and track athletes and fostering their love for running. Getting to know friends even better as we share miles and conversation. Running through most of my first pregnancy, including at a cross country meet on my due date. Starting to run a week after my first c-section. Rebuilding strength and finding that stride again. Learning to cover miles while pushing a stroller, handing out snacks, breaking up fights, and picking up dropped baby shoes. Training with my beautiful little sister and watching her confidence and love for running grow.
When I run, I feel strong. I feel sane. I feel complete.
I feel like me.
I often think that two things help to keep me sane--reading the Bible and running. Yet, when times get busy, those things tend to disappear from my schedule. As easy as it should be to dismiss them, they are really necessities in my life.
And that is why I cling to this half marathon I completed a month ago. It allowed me to prove some things to myself.
The idea that I can run faster after two children, that I can schedule time for something I love to do.
The idea that I can run step by step for 13.1 miles with a teammate that I haven't seen for ten years.
Ten, twelve years ago, we bonded over sixty mile weeks and facing similar issues in life. And even though ten years had passed, when we started running on October 3rd, it felt natural and easy. And we carried each other through that race.
The idea that I feel closer to God when I'm running in his nature than any other time.
The idea that I am a runner and that's what HE intended me to be.
And so, I run.