I've met plenty of people in my life who hate running. They can't conceive of how I might enjoy going out and doing triple my normal walking speed, especially when there's nothing chasing me. Some of these people ask me straight out; others holler "RUN FORREST RUN!!!" from a couch or a moving car.
I don't love running, though. I know some people who do. I don't hate it, but I definitely like it, primarily because I'm good at it. I play team sports for the social aspect, but I prefer solo sports (golf, disc golf, pool, bowling) because there's nobody jumping in front of me to block my shot.
Before my Guard unit's PT test in April, I ran on very rare occasions. So if I liked it so much, why didn't I do it more? Because I didn't love it. I ran when I had time. When I was bored. Now, I'm running two or three times a week. Why? Because now I have a goal -- and an adversary.
I passed a lot of people during the PT test in order to finish tenth in our unit, with about 80 people running the mile-and-a-half course. I even started off from the front so I wouldn't have to dodge a lot of folks. Some guys did pass me, others who were with me pulled way ahead, but I held myself together. Coming down the home stretch, I heard someone come up beside me, but I didn't check to see who it was. Lt. Maurice started clapping and cheering, "You can do it! You can beat him!" Why was she so adamant about this person beside me? I looked to my right -- it was a chick.
In seven years in the Air Force, I've never had a chick beat me. Even in Basic Training where we were in top physical shape, none of them ever challenged me. Lindsay caught up to me during the race and would have beat me, had i not turned on the afterburners there.
Here's the problem: Lindsay's been training for the past year. I sat around and rested on the fact that I could run 1.5 miles in 10:51 with a highly irregular running schedule, especially since I did 10:52 last year, and I don't remember seeing Lindsay anywhere around me. If I let her train while i sit around this year, she'll definitely own me next time. She was one second away from scoring 100% on the PT test, and I'd say that's enough motivation for her.
But is beating someone else really a good enough motivation? The problem with people who hate running is they're most concerned with what they're running away from. In order to love and enjoy running, you have to have something to run towards. "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he" -- Proverbs 29:18.
Yesterday while burning papers, at the unit, I had to keep putting more on the fire constantly, or else the flames would die out. I heard the Lord speaking to me, "Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God." -- Revelation 3:2. I read the rest of that passage last night:
1And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
2Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
3Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
4Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
5He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
6He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
-- Revelation 3:1-6.
This passage reminds me how important it is to remain alive and healthy in Christ, not just telling everyone how much I'm alive ("a name that thou livest") but actually having that life of Christ in me (John 10:10). I have to keep from letting things control my life, but give up the weeds and thorns that would choke me out (Matthew 3:7, 22). I have to remain pure before the Lord lest I be found lacking, but more importantly, I have to keep oil in my lamp until the Lord shows up (Matthew 25:8-13). In so doing, I will be rewarded for my faithfulness (Matthew 10:32).
The Lord has been speaking to me a lot lately about anticipating His return at any moment. It's hard to keep that in mind at all times, but it still needs to be our goal. We have to have that vision without which the people perish. Vision = passion + direction. I have to have a goal. Now that I'm running, I'm looking into doing actual races: Crescent City Classic, Middendorf's Manchac Run, marathons? ...let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.
What's your goal? What are you running for?