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Running for Life: New Beginnings

My sneakers after running less than a 1/4-mile with my brother

If there’s anything I absolutely hate, it’s running. Ask any of my friends and they will tell you, “Allysen, run? That’s funny.” I think it’s just a part of my DNA to hate it. I remember being 7 and having to run laps for my Karate class. I thought I had a hole in my heart after the first lap. Karate, for other reasons besides having a heart attack every time I ran, didn’t last very long.

Since then I have had a vendetta against running. I’m not really sure what it is. Maybe it’s the sheer fear that if I do run, my heart will stop or I’ll suffocate from breathing too hard (I know, it’s ridiculous. Hear me out). I even tried blaming it on the fact that my parents didn’t put me in sports as a kid. My father played soccer and my mother tennis…that probably wasn’t the issue.

Oh, I know. I think it really happened in the sixth grade when the girls were playing flag football for phys-ed. I knew I had to make my mark (no, I didn’t); I felt I had something to prove, so I made sure I got the ball (or maybe it just ended up in my hand). Any how I got the ball and boy did I feel like Peyton Manning (was he in the NFL in 2000?). I started running as fast as my short legs would take me and then I started to slow down…

…Why am I slowing down, I thought. I should be going forward and now I’m going backwards…what’s going on?

I looked behind me only to see this really tall girl-at least twice my size-pulling at my Miami Dolphins jacket (back when the Dolphins were in their earlier glory days). For some reason I decided to keep running and then she let go and the Law of Motion kicked in. I went flying chest first-ball in tow, into the ground. I didn’t think I could turn purple but apparently…it’s possible. I had to go to the nurse to get pain killers and ice for my chest.  Sad day.

Needless to say, I’ve had my share of traumatizing experiences when it comes to running, but I’ve decided to give it another go.

Why?

I look healthy; many women would go through a lot of trouble to look like me. A study stated that 83 percent of college women dieted in 2006, according the Nutrition Journal. I’m pretty lean, 5’0″, 105lbs and pretty much all muscle (maybe 2 percent body fat…maybe if that’s too much). But honestly, I’m NOT physically fit.

I get winded when I run up a flight of stairs and I feel like I have absolutely no endurance. All physical activity pretty much came to a screeching halt once I quit high school marching band my senior year. Half of the physical problems I’ve had since coming to college could have been stopped if diet and exercise had been a part of my life.

Going to doctors all the time and running really expensive test will made me rethink a lot of things. But another reason actually had to do with my relationship with God. Yes, God cares about health, too.

In 1 Corinthians 9: 24-27,  The Apostle Paul uses the analogy of running a race to explain his devotion to Christ.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (NIV)

When I look at things through God’s perspective, everything seems to be connected. My physical, emotional, mental and physical health are all intertwined. My problem isn’t that I don’t like to run, I hate the process of disciplining myself. It’s painful and it really stinks. I’ve been known to leave so many things unfinished because I didn’t want to finish.

Spiritually it’s been the same thing. I’ll start out really good with Jesus, then give me a week and I’m flat on my face again, defeated. That’s not how it’s supposed to work. The same way that athletes will push their bodies to train for a competition is the same way we should look at our walks with Christ. We have to train our minds to do what’s right because we’re born sinful, undisciplined, and selfish people. Harsh, I know, but it’s truth.

No one is ever born good. As babies we have to learn that the stove is hot or that climbing on a couch could cause us to fall. But once we learn, it’s a lot easier for us to not make that mistake again (even though it’s really tempting to do it again).

So yes, I’m running. Last week I ran stadiums at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for about 30 minutes with a friend and today I ran about a quarter-mile with my brother. Although I’m proud of myself for starting this really long and painful journey, I know I couldn’t do it alone. It’s the same thing with following Jesus. We can’t do it alone. Trainers who know what they’re doing are very valuable to athletes because they make them better, faster, stronger while keeping them from seriously hurting themselves. We need people to help us reach our goals.

Want to see how I’m doing? Sign up for email updates (top right column) to receive notifications once I write new stories. And if you’re reading this and you have some awesome running tips for me, I would appreciate it. Post them as a comment or email me at allysenrenee @ gmail.com. I would really like to know how to stop this burning in my throat when I run. I feel like there’s a massive hole in my sinuses.

Running for Life
Allysen K.
Allysen is the editor of Adapt Magazine. She’s a journalism senior in the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida. Allysen hopes that this blog will eventually turn into magazine to help students Adapt to Life. Adapt to God. Follow her at http://twitter.com/allysenrenee or the magazine at http://twitter.com/adaptmagazine.

1 Comment

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