I’ve never experience the runner’s high, endorphine-flooded, goofy-this-feels-like-walking-only-faster-I-could-run-forever state of being. I feel every foot-pouding step, every muscle contraction, every oxygen-drenched breath when I run.
I run for two reasons:
1. The sense of accomplishment is addicting.
2. To tell myself, “no.”
When I completed my first 5K, I was totally pumped. Not by runner’s high endorphines, but by the sense of immense accomplishment. I started off running thirty seconds at a time and sucking air after each interval. I had just run 35 minutes without stopping. I crossed the finish line, fists in the air, thrilled at what I had just accomplished. It felt like I was walking on a cloud for weeks. Any tough problem that I encountered seemed to soften in comparison to finishing that race. I’m addicted to accomplishment. That’s why I run.
Secondly, I run for self-discipline. It is good for me to endure through trials. It is good for me to push a little bit harder when my legs want to quit. My body wants certain things: sleep, rest, comfort, ease. Although there’s nothing wrong with those desires inherently, there are times the body and the flesh must be told, “No.”
Self-discipline is a constant training process.
There is a reason I understand much more than I did two years ago why Paul consistently talks about running and spirituality in the Bible. He entreats his readers to train, run, not run in vain, to finish the race. One of my favorite passages: Hebrews 12:1-2 reads: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Life is a marathon; we must train to run well. Even Jesus denied his bodily desires and ran the race set before Him until he crossed the finish line. He is still celebrating the completion of His race. And so am I.