Running as Discipline

I understand now why people hate running.

I stayed  pretty active while our family was out in Colorado this summer: hiking, biking, playing tennis, and just generally moving and breathing at an altitude of 8,000 to 13,000 feet above sea level. But I did not run much. I forced myself to make an attempt at running  / walking / running up a small-but-steep hill to a look-out called Bible Point about once a week — but the total mileage for most weeks was five miles or less.

So my running muscles atrophied, and it seems like I’ve I slipped to a level of running fitness (or lack thereof) which I haven’t experienced for almost six years.

Now, I just feel weak and unmotivated when I get to the spot in my schedule where I’d like to be running. I know my legs and lungs are going to feel like they’re on fire when I get out there, even for a short jaunt. I know I’m going to sweat a lot (especially at this time of the year). I know I’m never going to be a world-class athlete — so I wonder: What’s the point?

Meaningless! Meaningless! A chasing after the wind!

I know from experience that running can be different. It can be a space for mental processing and spiritual renewal. It can help me to lose weight, which can in turn help to make my running more efficient. It can get to the point where I’m sad when a day is not a running day, when I get to the end of a training cycle and I have to rest for a week following the conclusion of a long-anticipated race. Running can be refreshing.

But that’s not what I’m feeling right now. I’m feeling lazy.

Still, I’m choosing to be disciplined, starting today. I’m choosing to build back up to 20-25 miles per week, with faith that I’ll eventually find my rhythm and rediscover the joy that comes with regular running.

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