I Do Hard Things : The Triumph of a total Non-Runner

The hardest part of my day happens between exactly 6:30 and 6:45am.

The sun is still fast asleep and my room is impossibly cold. My alarm goes off and I snooze it as many times as it will let me before refusing to be snoozed any longer.

I will my eyes to open, coaxing and prodding them, and that’s not even the hard part.

The hard part is getting out of bed. You see, my bed feels like a warm cloud, fluffy and cozy, tucked around me like an embrace.

And getting out of that warm bed, especially for what I know I’m about to do, is all but impossible.

But somehow, day after day, I’ve convinced myself to get out of that bed and proceed as quickly as possible in my freezing-cold room to don my now-familiar uniform and head for the door.

My hair tucked back in a headband, and two layers of jackets zipped tight, I sprint up the stairs of our apartment building and out to my car—which recently has been covered in snow, and even in ice. (Don’t I live in Georgia?)

I Do Hard Things : The Triumph of a total Non-Runner

And then I spend the next ten minutes praying fervently for the car to warm up as I drive the short distance to our town’s Planet Fitness.

It’s time to run.

If you’ve heard a bit of my story, you know that I’m a positively horrible runner.

Running has been my arch-nemesis for years, my daily source of torture and shame at the beginning of each dance practice in high school.

We’d run the hallways of our school for a warm up, which sounds great until you realize that our hallways are approximately the size of a concourse at Denver’s International Airport, and you see that the hallways were lined with football players and all of my classmates.

And to boot, try being the slowest in the pack, and have some sort of freak reaction to running that turns your face red—almost purple.

Lets just say that running and I have never gotten along.

And then there was the Color Run incident, which just added fresh insult to an old injury, and I finally came to a breaking point.

I needed to learn to run.

Running felt like it had this power over me—it was this mountain that I felt powerless to climb. It was a constant reminder of all of the times I’d tried and failed.

It felt like an obstacle I just couldn’t overcome.

I needed to show myself that I could do it—that I could do something hard—that I could overcome a physical challenge and a mental one as well.

And so I took it on.

I spent a couple bucks on a Couch – 5K iPhone app and let the automated man’s voice (I called him Steve) tell me what to do three times a week for two months.

It wasn’t easy.

The biggest battle happened first thing in the morning, when I had to choose Steve and my desire for triumph over my desire for an extra thirty minutes of sleep.

But once that was over, I had to take on the road. I had to face my legs that felt like they were filled with lead. I had to face my lack of discipline as I wanted to give up after the first day. And I had to face my fear that I just wasn’t going to make it.

The first time Steve told me to run for three minutes, I could have killed him (which I guess would have cost me my iPhone as well, so I spared his life.) And when my first 28-minute run overlapped with a trip to Colorado, I thought the altitude was going to flatten me.

But a few weeks ago, on a random Thursday morning, I got up and headed to Planet Fitness, and I did it.

I ran a 5K all at once—no walking, no stopping, no resting, no cheating.

I Do Hard Things : The Triumph of a total Non-Runner

I actually did it.

I’m convinced that there are few better feelings in the world than accomplishing something you thought was impossible.

I’ve learned several things between the hours of 7 and 8 this winter. One of those is that whatever you’re getting up to do will usually make you feel way better than an extra 30 minutes of sleep.

But the other thing is this:

We’re capable of so much more than we sometimes believe.

I’m amazed every day by stories of people doing the impossible. Every single day, people overcome odds and disease and setbacks and circumstances. Every single day, people choose to believe in more than what their surroundings, their bodies, or their prognosis tell them is true.

And I’m coming to realize that those are the stories that reflect God most clearly. Because we serve a God that says anything is possible. We serve a God who brings life to things that are dead, and calls things that aren’t as though they are.

We serve a God who isn’t deterred by the word “impossible.”

It would be a shame not to follow in his footsteps. Even if those footsteps lead you to a treadmill at Planet Fitness.

What feels impossible to you today?

I think you should go for it. 

Comments

  1. Heather says

    I am so proud of you!!!! I have never gotten along with running either. My legs & arms apparently flail all over the place (think Phoebe on Friends). BUT the day after Christmas I signed up for a 5k & began running. I’m not quite there yet (surgery a few days ago has set me back a bit), but I WILL get there, just as you have! Woohooo!!! YAY Stephanie!!

  2. Julia says

    Way to go! I love this line, “We serve a God who isn’t deterred by the word ‘impossible'”. Running has been one of my first loves ever since I joined the cross country and track teams in high school. For me, the longer the distance, the better. But I got a shoulder/back injury many years ago and was in near constant pain (sort of a dull ache) for … 10 years? It has been a long time. I am finally working with an amazing physical therapist and there is hope for healing. I have goals in running and triathlon and, at one point (actually, many points), thought I would never be able to reach them because of my injury.

    Your words remind me that NOTHING is impossible with God. Your words remind me that just because healing is a process that seems to take a long time, it doesn’t mean that I will never reach my goals.

  3. says

    Running is genuinely my arch nemesis as well. I never had to do it. My dance teachers were fans of crunches and push ups as their form of torture. So now I can’t run because i’m not used to it. This past week I ran two miles with tons of walking breaks and I was done. I’m trying to get to where you are though!

  4. says

    This is so timely for me to read because I am running my very first 5k in 2 weeks! I never thought I would sign up for a run because I really REALLY hate running but I’m excited to accomplish this goal and prove to myself that I can do it! Congrats to you :)

  5. Megan says

    Stephanie this is amazing! I started the couch to 5K to but I got the free one! I wonder what the difference is! I have been walking/jogging for a month though and still can’t get passed the first week on the APP! It is frustrating but I keep pushing! I really want to be able to run a 5K soon. They seem fun! I know I don’t want give up but is discouraging! I loved this post though! I don’t know i am unable to jog longer! I have going 7 days a week instead of 3 though!

  6. Nancy says

    Stephanie, I am SO proud of you!! I know what it’s like because I did the same thing many years ago and remember how I felt when I reached the 5K marker. I got to run in some races which was a real treat, seeing myself as one of the fit people in Denver. I even ran a race called the Turkey Trot which takes place on Thanksgiving. Many people dressed up in funny costumes. It was a great way to start the day! I hope you will keep running and that you will come to love it as I did. Good job!

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