When it comes to my training and my running these days, I have been more on the quiet side. In part, I think people can tire of my talking about running. But in part, the training journey I have been traveling the last few months has been so personal, it's one that has needed some privacy in order to unfold.
But as I approach race day in just a few weeks, the lessons I have been gaining through these few months are so powerful, they are pushing through me to be shared. Thus, in the next few weeks, as I lead up to my fall race, I want to try to share a bit of the lessons I have been learning through this particular leg of training.
When I set out back in July towards this fall race, I had no idea what the road ahead would look like for me. Now, glancing behind me, I believe this upcoming race and the training journey the last few months have been one of my strongest ones yet. In reality, while race day is always a fun, exciting and wonderful experience, and what I wait months for to come around, the piece that matters is actually all the months leading up to that day. A finish wouldn't be possible without all the exhausting days between. A victory is much sweeter when pain has been part of the battle.
Much like the beautiful fall leaves that are quickly beginning to grace the ground these days, I could compare these months to a fall season. Fall doesn't sweep in and take our breaths away with its beauty in one day. Fall is a season which is somewhat gradual. The leaves begin changing little by little, and each tree in its own time, not every tree at once. As the leaves begin to change their color into a beautiful shining brilliance, they begin to shed off the trees day by day.
As I have been getting up in the early hours and lacing up my shoes and heading out the door, my runs have become a bit more purposeful. When I started training back in July, I had no goal. I just ran because I wanted to, because I enjoyed it. Little did I know, God had this leg of my journey planned as a very personal journey of personal growth.
The more I ran, the more the goal transformed. The more the goal transformed, the more He began transforming me in the process. The goals placed in my heart and mind during this leg of training did not just show up one day. Much like the fall season, it's become a gradual idea transforming into its own process. And much like the fall season, as the time of the weeks of training have unfolded, my layers, like the leaves on the trees, have begun to shed little by little.
If I were to spread my arms out and "pretend" to be a tree, you could say that through these weeks of training, the layers of.... fear... anxiety...hurts....insecurity...the need to please....comparisons to others... have begun to fall off me.
That does not mean I have conquered these negativities by any means. But the process has begun of shedding these ugly habits. With each step I have run, the goal has grown stronger, the purpose in my heart has become greater.
This leg of training has become more about God teaching me to let go than it is about the run itself.
And some days I struggle to get up at 4 to go out for my run, but as I purposefully make the choice to do so, I find new victory in each run.
In the fall season, just as you can't see what's happening inside the tree to transform its glorious beauty, I can't always understand what God is doing inside me. But running helps me understand Him better. I am learning to trust Him stronger. To let go a little more each day. To run better, to be a better me.
As I approach race day, the time goal I have in my mind and heart is one which is a challenge for me. But nonetheless, the one I can't escape. So, I am pushing towards it. I am not certain I can achieve it, but regardless, the process it has brought on in me is far more accomplishing than what any clock could ever read at the end of a race. I likely won't share about the time goal until after the race because this journey is so close to my heart, it's not ready to be spilled out all the way just yet.
But as fall proceeds and the brilliance of colors are bursting on every tree, so I believe He is doing a brilliant work in me as well. And just as those brilliant leaves shed (in order to eventually grow and become a new growth), so I believe my layers are shedding so I can grow stronger and better as well.
One run at a time. One day at a time.
It's not about the race. It's about the journey along the way. And you can't finish a race until you have adequately walked the journey.