Putting On the Running Shoes

I used to be a pretty good runner. Like, I genuinely enjoyed it. But that was back in high school-- the better part of a decade ago, when my body was a tiny, lean mass of muscle and I had never given birth. A couple months after Cyrus was born,  I made the mistake of telling my husband that I missed running. Which is how I found myself lying in my bed, sleep-deprived, debating whether or not my lungs would survive the Texas summer heat if I actually decided to heed my husband’s loving suggestion to go for a run. 

I’ve been learning lately that the hardest part is putting on the running shoes. I reasoned with myself that if I could get out of bed and lace up my sneakers, I would master the biggest obstacle before me: my mind. So, I mustered up every ounce of will power within me, pulled the shoes out of the back of my closet, and threw them on. 

It’s easy to dream. I do it all day long. Actually, I do it like it’s my full time job. I set goal after goal for myself. But I always make the mistake of never giving myself a deadline. I have built my house under the safe awning of “some day” and “tomorrow” or “next week”. That way I’m never really accountable to the hard stuff. Because words like “tomorrow” are elusive—they never come.

I’ve determined, at least for myself anyway, setting goals is not the hard part. Determining I want to write more or travel more or get into better shape is easy. What’s hard is taking that first step of committing myself to those ambitions through action. Donald Miller calls it an “inciting incident”. What it means is if you have determined to run a marathon, you would sign up for the race before you are fully trained. It’s a scary concept in theory because it requires vulnerability; but I’ve learned if I am not accountable to anyone, including myself, I simply won’t do it. I won’t apply for the job or show up for the audition. I won’t write the blog or take the class or meet the neighbor. And I won’t get out and run. 

My run that day was one of the first since finding out I was pregnant. As soon as my feet hit pavement, I had two immediate thoughts. The first was that my body has changed since I was sixteen—everything ached almost immediately. But the second thought was how freeing it felt and how proud of myself I was for doing a thing. For setting a goal and pursuing it. And I am acutely aware of the impossibility that run would have been had I never put on the running shoes. 

Since that day, I have set a lot of goals for myself. Some of them have long been forgotten, but through a little bit of persistence and a lot of encouragement, others have been met and even exceeded. Is there a goal or change you have been putting off? What would putting on the running shoes look like for you today?