On Saturday, I ran in a 5K with a few friends.
Two years ago, I ran in this 5k. It was within the first month that I moved to Arki-land, and it was also the first 5K I ran after having my third little kiddo (“Sasquatch”). During her pregnancy, I experienced a great deal of pain in my pubic bone. After I had her, I was still in a ton of pain. My body just didn’t want to go back together. But, I was intent on getting back in shape and running. It was hard and difficult. Mostly because it was painful.
Two years ago, I ran the 5K in about 34 minutes – and I was in pretty severe pain for the next two days. That was typical.
But I still remember how great it felt to finish.
This time, I ran in the 5K mostly because I thought it would be fun. I haven’t been training or running much. I work-out at home, but Homey isn’t really home enough for me to run much. No biggie. I went and had fun.
When I started running, it was about blowing off steam. I had a lot of stressful stuff happening in my life, and running literally saved my life. Prior to that time, I would joke, I will only run if I’m being chased. Running started off as a hobby; a stress-reliever. I would go for a run and listen to music loudly, punching the air to the beat of the song that was playing. Sometimes, I’d go for a run and listen to nothing – admiring the beauty of Pennsylvania. I was excited whenever I had the chance to run somewhere new. I made it a point to run on the beach in Massachusetts when visiting my dad. While traveling to Germany, I ran every day, on these paths that ran through fields of asparagus. I ran in Utah – to the temple – and nearly passed out from the altitude. I ran in AZ, Mexico, and anywhere I spent enough time to get in a quick run.
Running was about living. It was about sweating. It was about seeing if I could do something, and then experiencing the joy from endorphins and accomplishment.
Things started to change, though…Runners to be a competitive bunch. Pretty soon, running isn’t good enough. You start to make goals. You start to wear a watch. Maybe you even buy a garmin, and track every single step. If you are slow one day, you think about every contributing factor, maybe I need new socks…it is cold outside…I ate a hamburger for dinner last night. A little bit of this is okay, I think. It is important to always progress. But there’s a point – a threshold I crossed – when running went from stress-reliever to stress-producer. Then, I got pregnant, and my pubic bone went insane, and I stopped running again.
This last pregnancy (with T-Rex) was the most painful ever. I could barely take a step. I could not lift my legs. It was a huge challenge to put on pants. And sleeping – was one of the most painful things in the world. So, running was out. In fact, I had such trouble walking, I remember that one day, when I was walking into church, I was passed by an elderly woman with a walker! It was the worst, and I feared that I would never be normal again.
Thankfully, this condition was temporary, and after I had the T-Rex, I was feeling a lot better. In fact, recovery was better with him than it had been with little Sasquatch. I started working out, and eventually, I went for a run. The first few runs were pretty painful – which is what I was expecting. I couldn’t run a continuous mile. But I kept at it. After a few months, I ran pain free!
And I remembered, again, what I loved about running: moving my body, living, and enjoying the world that Heavenly Father created.
Now…what does this have to do with the gospel. A lot.
- Expectations – It has been about two months since I last run. I knew that I would be running in the 5K, but I hadn’t really done anything to prepare. I am overweight. And I was kind of tempted to hope that I would run a fast 5K! Silly! This thought came to my mind:
“Honesty is essential in requesting things from God. It would not be fully honest, for example, to ask the Lord for help on a test in school if I have not paid attention in class, done the homework assigned, or studied for the test.” – J Devn Cornish
I realized, it would not be fully honest for me to hope/pray for a 25 minute 5K when I haven’t run in two months, and when I’m eating like a jerk.
- Satisfaction – Sometimes I have a really tough time being satisfied with what I’m doing. I don’t know if it is a Mormon thing or an American thing or what – but we are such goal oriented people, and we are such hard workers – yet we fall short of perfection – sometimes we have a hard time being satisfied.
I think that this is wrong.
Two scriptural examples:
” 18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good:…” – Proverbs 31:18
This scripture comes from the description of a virtuous woman. I love how the virtuous woman perceives her worth. She doesn’t deride herself. She doesn’t point out her flawed effort. Instead, she is able to find joy in her creation. She isn’t prideful, but she is satisfied.
” 31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” – Genesis 1:31
After God created the earth, he saw that it was good.
It seems like we can follow His example: we can do our best and then feel happy about the hard work that we have done.
While I was running the 5K, I was tempted to get frustrated with my effort early on. Thankfully, I have been thinking about this concept a while – my best efforts being good enough. I know that there is always room to improve, but I knew that during that run, I was giving my best effort for that moment. While I haven’t been running, I have been working out – I’ve been doing my best. I decided to be happy about it. I ran with my music, punching the air to the beat of the music. And I had a really great time.
- Gratitude and Good Cheer – Just when I was tempted to compare myself with others, I saw this young woman…
It was hard to watch her cross the finish line without crying. I was tempted to be frustrated with myself, and then I see her, happily pushing herself toward the finish. I feel like she illustrated this scripture:
“Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.” – Doctrine and Covenants 123:17
All we can do is what we can do – and we should do it cheerfully. The amazing thing is – when we do, and we “stand still” – sure in our God, we will see His power in our lives. He will make up the difference. We can be happy – even in our most meager efforts.
I love how life can teach us so many things. Happy Halloween!