It’s been some time since I’ve written anything on this blog, but a lot has been happening in my life. One of the most significant things since the last post has been my renewed interest in running. I’ve always dabbled in it, but lately am getting serious about it. It all goes back to my days at Oral Roberts University, where each student was required to earn a particular number of “aerobic points” each semester. If the aerobic points weren’t there, there was no progressing forward to the next semester. They took physical fitness seriously, so it was drilled into my brain the four years I was there. Running was the most time efficient way to earn aerobic points, so I ran. Over the years, I’ve never really stopped running, I’ve just taken extended breaks from it.
For the longest time one of the main reasons I would run is so I could eat whatever I wanted and not get fat. So I would run regularly and fill my body with junk at the same time. Had I known then what I know now about nutrition, I would have done things far differently. Anyway, I finally started eating right, and since running was so time consuming, I just settled for a couple of trips to the gym each week. Two or three trips to the gym each week to do some sort of class was the norm for me until a couple of months ago.
One of my friends who is a pastor had gotten into running, and it really inspired me to reconsider it. I tried running behind the local high school, just a mile or two, and it was tough after my latest extended break. Then the winter of 2011 hit, which was very cold and snowy here in West Virginia. In February Jeannie and I went on a mission trip to Russia, which made the weather here seem tropical in comparison. Sub-zero temperatures, stiff winds, sheets of ice everywhere and two feet of snow all chilled me to the bone. When we returned home and spring arrived, I was more than ready to be outdoors. Running was the natural thing to do.
My sights are now set on training for the Charleston Distance Run, the big fifteen mile one. The one with the steep incline up Corridor G and then through South Hills. The one that sharply descends back into Charleston on Bridge Road then winds through the city streets for another 10 miles or so. It’s a big challenge, and I’ve always wanted to tackle it. At 50 years old I’m starting to think about things on my “bucket list.” So I’ve consulted a trainer and have an 18 week plan to prepare for the CDR. Even though the CDR is on my bucket list, I want to make sure I don’t kick the bucket doing it! I’ve just finished week 2 of the training plan, which is so far going very well.
Last weekend Jeannie and I went to the Susan G. Komen event in Charleston. I ran the 5K, and had no problems with it — it was a lot of fun. This past Monday I met Josh near his home in Poca and ran the course for the Poca River Run. It is 9.3 miles, and I covered all of it without stopping once! My average pace was under a ten minute mile. so I felt pretty positive about it. This morning Josh and I ran the actual Poca River Run Race, and it was much tougher for me. Due to a cold and the excitement of running in a longer event, I lost my pace after seven miles or so. Still, my time was better than the trial run on Monday.
The main thing I enjoy about the longer distance running is the music. I put on the headphones, beginning listening to contemporary Christian music, and am freed to enjoy my own private time of worship with my Lord. In that frame of mind the running becomes more like a act of service to Him. It’s a great, renewing experience.
We’ll see what the future holds — next Monday I start week 3 of training for the CDR. At week 7 I begin running through South Hills during the early morning hours. That should be fun 😉 Once the CDR is finished, I’d like to participate in a full 26.2 marathon. If the folks on the Biggest Loser can do it, I should be able to do it! I don’t know of any full marathons in West Virginia, but there are a few in Kentucky and Ohio.