I’ve never been one for exercise. I was on the track team in high school but I was a discus thrower. We tried to avoid running whenever possible. I’d have spurts in college where I’d lift weights and ride the exercise bike but nothing that serious. Also I never considered what I ate.
Fast forward eight years. I have been living in Fort Worth for a few years and decided I want to start bike riding again. There are bike trails all over town so it will be a great way to see another side of the city. A friend of mine let me borrow his bike. One of the first few times I went out riding, I rode over 17 miles. I was just exploring and wasn’t paying attention. I paid for it later though. I continued to ride a couple of times a week averaging about 10 miles a trip. I still wasn’t serious about my eating.
That brings us to around March of this year. I was flipping the channels one night and got sucked into watching The Biggest Loser. And it got me thinking about my lifestyle. I’m a programmer by trade so I’m sedentary most of the time. I also was eating a lot and nothing all that nutritious. Starting in April, I became serious and began looking at the nutrition labels on foods and began weeding out things that were just junk. I bought a scale and began tracking my proposed weight loss. After two months I have lost 20 pounds.
In the middle of May, I decided I was going to add running to my regimen. The trainers on Biggest Loser and work colleagues were extolling its virtues. I was hesitant because of the lack of running in my past and it has always bothered my knees when I did. But apprehension aside, I went and bought a good pair of running shoes and went out that very afternoon. I also wanted to set a goal for myself. I decided that I want to get to where I could run an official 5k.
Now I had been riding for over a year and thought I was in good shape. So I decided I’d run 2 miles on my maiden run. I mapped out landmarks for a half-mile and a mile. I guess my subconscious knew I’d only make it a half mile before wanting to pass out. My lungs felt like they were going to explode and I was weaving all over the trail because I was so light-headed. I walked the rest of the two miles and decided I needed a new plan.
I decided that I would do intervals for a total of 3 miles. I marked out 400m & 800m in the area and began running 400m and then walking 400m till I reached 3 miles. I did this for a week or so and then decided that I’d move up to 800m. Last week I was finally able to run all three 800m segments. I would start out really fast on my first two and wouldn’t have enough energy for the last.
Which brings me to today. I decided I wanted to bump up my routine to 1200m segments. I was thinking that in a week or two I’d be able to run a mile without having to walk. So I drove through the neighborhood marking out the landmarks and even went ahead and marked out the mile marker for future reference.
I started off and decided to set a slower pace. I knew that I had been pushing myself too hard and knew if I kept it up, I wouldn’t be able to reach a mile. I passed the 800m marker and wasn’t breathing that hard. I kept going. I hit the 1200m marker and the same thing. Ok, I guess I’ll run a mile before I stop. I passed the mile marker and still felt good. At this point, I’m dumbfounded. I felt a bit like Forrest Gump and “I just kept running.” So I decided, why not try and run the whole 3 miles. And I did. I covered three miles in under 34 minutes.
Several things occurred to me as I just kept running and trying to understand what was going on. One, I probably looked really goofy because I had the biggest grin on my face. I just couldn’t comprehend what my body was doing. The Lord also used this time to teach me a few lessons.
When I try and do things my way, I run at an unmaintainable pace and eventually flame out.
God will give you strength to continue on when you least expect it, and He will blow you away with what you accomplish by His power.
But I was also left with a question, “If I can discipline my body like Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 9, why can’t I discipline my spirit?”
For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. - 1 Timothy 4:8