why i run – part i

I am starting a series of entries titled “Why I Run”, which will go into the joy of running, and why I continue to pound the pavement 3 times a week or more. It will be sporadic or consistent, depending on what other topics I want to cover in between.
My love for running began in my junior year of high school. I must credit my step-father, Don, for encouraging me in it. I remember him telling me that my mile run in 5:35 made me worthy of being part of the track team at my high school, but I never went for tryouts. I enjoyed the isolation that running provided, and determined that I would keep it to myself. However, his encouragement gave me the confidence I needed to keep tying up my running shoes a few times a week searching for wind to refresh and space to think.

Running became permanently etched in my psyche the first time I ever ran for more than an hour. We lived on a fairly large property in Largo, Florida, which contained the church where my step-father was the pastor and the parsonage where we lived. I set out to run laps around the property one evening and after 60 minutes I still had no inclination to stop, so I kept on. After about 8 miles, I was overcome with a feeling of invincibility and endurance, also known as “runner’s high”. I was hooked. I had to stop because it was time for dinner, but I felt as if I could have run all night.

From the very first miles I ran, there was always renewal that took place inside. More than a release of natural chemicals, there was a recovery of the belief that I was becoming more alive every day. Our bodies decay because we are “frail creatures of dust”, but every mile I run is a proving ground where I demonstrate that Holy Spirit within me is pouring abundance of life into these bones of dust. Sometimes during a run I’m feeling the effects of poor food choices the day before or a lack of proper sleep. On those days the proving ground is more like a torture chamber, but with each step I make a decision that I would rather feel alive and sore, than dead and comfortable.

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