Saturday I ran my first race of the year, the Get in Gear 10K. Despite all kinds of encouragement from a new friend, an amazing friend and my family, I could not get myself together and the race didn't go as well as I was hoping it would when I signed up. It wasn't my worst 10K time (by 6 seconds), but it was far from my best, by like 11 minutes. Although I was frustrated with my performance, I was still proud of myself for getting out there and running even though I wasn't feeling it and had just recovered from a stomach bug.
Photo Credit to the amazing friend mentioned above
I took Sunday and Monday off from running but was back at it this morning. I transitioned from my 10K plan into the Team World Vision Marathon Base Training Plan, which is currently 35 minutes of 3 min run/1 min walk intervals. I like to tell myself that I'm better than that, that I can run straight for 35 minutes, but the honest truth is, right now, I can't.
I've been living in this world of "Bare Minimum" for a while now, not just in running, but in life. Running my first marathon last fall definitely required more than my bare minimum in terms of time commitment, but when I'm actually out running, I'm just doing the bare minimum required to finish. Even though my bare minimum proves to be extremely challenging some days, I know that I have more in me.
So today I set out to do my 35 minute run with 3:1 intervals and my goal was to push myself hard on the running intervals. Over the winter I had been pushing myself on the treadmill, getting my running speed up, but the transition to the road has not gone well. I would imagine the transition from the treadmill to the road is a lot harder the heavier you are because your legs are working so much harder to move your body without the help of the belt. I have no scientific evidence to back this up, it just seems like it would be the case to me…..but then again, I like to make excuses.
As I was in the middle of one of my running intervals, my legs were burning and I wanted to stop so bad. I took Lena (our dog) with and she was dragging behind me, so I knew it was fast for her too, but I was determined to keep going. I just kept telling myself, "You have to do hard things if you want to get better". I haven't been doing many hard things lately and I haven't been getting better at anything. Even though I've lost 100+ pounds, I feel like I did it doing the bare minimum. I still have 70 or so pounds to go and bare minimum isn't going to cut it anymore. Bare minimum isn't going to get me relief. It is time to do hard things, and not eating what I want to eat is a really hard thing for me.
I have always given my all at work and school, but for some reason, when it comes to things that only impact me, I get lazy. I'm not sure if this is from low self-esteem or a people pleasing nature, but it is what it is and I'm aware of it now and trying to move forward.
I started thinking about how it is easier for me to run with walk intervals in between. My pace is always better, even with the walking, than if I just flat out run. I believe this is because I push myself harder knowing that relief is coming. Then it hit me, I run because I want to be that relief for the women and children that walk for hours each day just to get dirty water. I can do hard things so that they can have relief from their daily water walk and the disease and safety threats that come with it.
Jesus did the hardest thing to give us the ultimate relief. He was beaten, mocked, betrayed and killed so that we could have life. He gave us everything he had and if we want to be like him, we need to give a whole lot more than our bare minimum in places that actually matter. We need to give our all in matters of poverty and justice, bare minimum isn't enough when others are counting on us to be their relief. It is what love requires of us. (Micah 6:8)
As I was running this morning and feeling that burning in my legs and my chest, I was thinking about how hard it is to start running, especially for someone who is battling with being overweight. I started thinking about all of the strong and beautiful women I know that God has moved to run with Team World Vision this year and I just felt so incredibly proud of every one of you. Here is what I want you to know - Just by getting out there and having the courage to start, you are doing a hard thing. It is easier to stay where you are comfortable, but you aren't. You are doing hard things and relief will come, it might look different for every one of you, but it will come. Even though I've been running for 3 years, it is still hard, but it is a different kind of hard, and it is still very much worth it. So never give up, because you are doing hard things, and hard things lead to better things, and God withholds no good thing from us (Psalm 84:11), so just imagine what is in store for your obedience!
I can give it my all when it comes to running with Team World Vision, but that won't mean a thing unless I have people supporting me who are willing to get past bare minimum in terms of generosity. I've been quiet about running this year because my husband signed up to run as well and I want people to give to him because he is taking an even bigger leap of faith than I took last year. That being said, there are many people that I know that don't know him, so I’m still going big with my goal. I'm hoping to raise $3,000 which would provide enough money for 60 people to have clean water for life. This is more than I raised last year, but I met my goal last year even though I thought it was impossible. I’m kind of starting to believe this whole business about what is impossible with man being possible with God. (Matthew 19:26) I believe God really wants everyone to have access to clean water and he is moving big time in the Twin Cities this year to make it happen.
So will you join me today in moving beyond the bare minimum on the things that make a difference if it means that you can only give the bare minimum on the things that don't? (I'm looking at you Facebook, Instagram, Netflix and Hulu....you are getting my bare minimum from now on rather than my best.) Can you do a hard thing and give up $50 or $100 dollars to provide clean water for someone else and be their relief?
As I continued on my run, I began to pray
"God, thank you for being so patient with me. Thank you for giving me unlimited chances to start over. Thank you for going beyond bare minimum, thank you for giving me your all. Please help me to give my all so that others can have relief. Give me the strength to endure when I want to stop. Help me move my focus away from my weaknesses and instead towards the strength I have in you and through you. Help me remember why I run and help use my struggle for good. Amen."