I am not a runner.
Dating an avid runner pushed me to start running. Marrying that running man forced me to continue the despicable sport. But, I remained a non-runner.
I ran alongside him as he trained for marathons. I was never fast, never ran too long, but enjoyed being with him.
One summer he was gone and running finally became mine. I ran for the solace. The kids and I made a funny parade of four bicycles and a jogging stroller. I trailed in the back, panting, and reveling in my solace. I trained that summer to run in a marathon relay. Not too far, not too fast, and just for fun. For me.
Each summer I have trained for the same race. I trained because my relay buddies were counting on me. By the end of the summer, I would find myself looking forward to my long runs. Seeking solace.
Last year, I ran the longest leg of the relay. Still not a runner, finishing eight miles felt like an accomplishment. This year I purposed to train for the half-marathon. Early in the spring I hurt myself and each step felt like a knife stabbing into my heel. I kept running.
I visited a doctor, stretched, and kept running. The pain in my foot at the end of the day was terrible, but I needed to run.
Burdens weighing heavily on my shoulders fall off as I run. It's just God and me. The running and pleading in the early morning darkness is where I leave those heavy burdens. I leave them where they belong, at the feet of the One who is able to carry them. As my feet hit the pavement, I thank Him.
My great-grandmother passed away this summer. She was 98 years old. A formidable woman who had been born on the brink of World War I. She outlived two of her five children and her husband. She lived alone in a house built before she was born, at the end of a road that bears her name. My husband once commented that she was the only family member who shared the same eye color as my sisters and me. Her death was somewhat expected, but still heartbreaking.
In planning our trip to the funeral, I became overwhelmed. I needed to be alone, so I put on my shoes and ran. I thought about my Great-Grandma and the life that she lived. I prayed for my Grandma, her daughter, who would miss her mother.
Last week, I finally registered for the half-marathon. I realized that maybe a runner is simply someone who wants to run, whatever their reason.