I know, here I am starting back at University and have returned to running after all these  years of being a couch potato. It’s not a mid-life crisis, I promise you!

In the past, training would involve a succession of different routes and distances each day of the week to ensure readiness for the intended race. Mondays would involve a number of repetitions of a set distance at pace; Tuesdays to Thursday would be a longer runs using some hills; Friday a shorter run but at a faster pace; leaving Saturday for an early morning get up and long distance run around the beautiful country roads of Lincolnshire. I was always amazed at the sights especially as the sun arose over small villages. Fortunately Lincolnshire wasn’t blessed with too many steep hills [bar that famous one in Lincoln itself] so the sunrise was always going to be magnificent.

That was some years ago now.

For nigh on a decade the training continued and races run. Nothing glamorous just achievements. A seventh in one race, getting a PB after clashing with a steeplechase fence on the last lap (of a marathon! – it wasn’t part of the course just my attention wasn’t great at that time), and running a number of races with my eldest daughter stand out in the memories. A book of certificates and a box of those running medals lie somewhere in the flat (we have yet to unpack yet).

So upon starting running again, what am I looking to achieve?

Getting fit again is quite high on that priority list…but to what level? Age has crept up on me (as it does to us all) so I need to be aware of this now. That time to become fit takes longer now I am in my fifties. The time to recover from injury has increased markedly now. Whilst out running, notice is taken of twinges, aches and pains. In the past the drive to succeed would have kicked in and you just press on. Recollections of ice-cold baths to recover from the long distance runs make me shudder now – although they do work, just take a mug of hot chocolate with you!

This morning, as I passed some landmarks used to ensure I don’t get lost, the thought..

it’s a marathon not a sprint

came to mind. Marathons were my thing. OK my times were never anything to write home about but to accomplish a marathon was my childhood objective. To run an ultramarathon with my brother driving to checkpoints to ensure I was hydrated and safe was a critical moment in our time together.

Marathon running allowed me to think, to rationally understand situations, to debate them with myself and to understand ‘what was I doing?’

This may be the greatest driving factor why I have chosen to go back to running.

Not those distances again but running to give myself time to think.

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In life itself we need time to reflect on what we are doing or have done. In life we need to ‘keep fit’ or remain focussed upon Jesus so we can maintain the right path. Oh I have been totally lost on so many runs (and in life itself) – it’s important to stay on the right path!  Running gives me that time to ask questions of myself about the day that’s been, and the day ahead. It is like a prayer of Examen, an examination of conscience, whilst also getting physically fit!

Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.
Hebrews Chapter 12 v 1-2 The Message

So cheer others on their way! Keep running the race of life with our eyes upon Jesus and know that he is with you every step of the way, his way!

Now off to wash the smelly running kit!

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