Back in January, I wrote a blog called “The Need to Run.” I talked about how I’ve never enjoyed running, but sometimes, I run as a healthy way to cope with stress.
This past summer, a friend said she was starting a couch to 5K program using an app on her phone. I had no desire to run a 5K, but I did want to get in better shape, so I entertained the idea.
I found a couch to 5K app that had thousands of 5 star reviews. Several people commented that they never considered themselves a runner until they used this app. I remember reading one review that said, “This app can turn anyone into a runner.”
I thought, “If this app has helped thousands of people become runners, maybe there is hope for me.” I was up for the challenge, so I downloaded the app.
In 8 weeks, you are supposed to go from laying on your couch to being able to run a 5K. The workouts on the app are designed to slowly build your endurance and stamina. The first few weeks, I felt pretty good and thought, “Maybe I could be a runner.” I was only running for a minute or two at a time and then walking in-between, but it still felt like an accomplishment every time I completed a workout.
Throughout the workouts, words of encouragement are spoken to you, such as “Great job, runner!” or “You’re halfway there, runner!” I’ve never had anyone address me as a “runner” before, so hearing it spoken to me by a computerized voice seemed a little strange, but it always made me laugh.
Things were going pretty well until week 4. That’s when the workouts started getting more challenging for me. I pushed through anyways and made it to week 5. That’s when I developed shin splints. I wasn’t able to run, as even walking was painful. I took a few weeks off of running and then tried it again. The pain returned.
Instead of running a 5K in 8 weeks, I was back laying on my couch, but this time I had ice on my shins.
I had failed the couch to 5K experience.
Mine was more like a couch to 2K back to the couch experience.
As I was laying on my couch, I realized that maybe I was never meant to be a runner. I have tried multiple times to become one, yet it’s not an activity I have ever enjoyed, and this time it ended painfully. So why do I keep trying to be someone I’m not?
Pain has a way of slowing us down. It often causes us to reflect.
God used the pain from shin splints to slow me down. He reminded me that I can strive to try to be someone I’m not, or I can embrace who He’s created me to be.
I am not a runner, but I am a daughter, a friend, a writer, and a teacher.
I don’t have a desire to run races, but I do have a desire to help and encourage others.
Embrace who God has created you to be.
And if God has created you to be a runner, I’ll be on the sidelines cheering for you!
Mary Ellen Collins
10/9/2017 01:57:18 pm
And you are one of the most loyal awesome creatures God created. Honored to call you friend.
10/9/2017 06:25:24 pm
Being known as someone who is loyal is something I will always embrace.
10/9/2017 03:17:27 pm
You are an awesome writer Julie. I don't take the time to tell you enough, but I love reading your blog and I miss seeing you. Your words about running made me smile because I'll never even attempt running! These words really spoke to me though, because I have been struggling with the thought that "just" being a stay at home mom isn't enough and it's caused me to take on way more projects that I can handle. Today especially, I really needed the reminder to embrace who God has created me to be. Thank you.
10/9/2017 06:43:50 pm
Thank you so much, Christina! When I see other people running it always looks so easy....so effortless. Looks can be deceiving. While I'm not a stay at home mom, I have other friends who are, and I think it's an incredible act of love (remember that when you're feeling exhausted). I don't think you will ever regret spending time with your family and being there to see your girls reach different milestones. Yes, you are a stay at home mom, but you are also so much more. You are a wife, sister, friend, and a talented artist. That's who I see when I look at you.
10/9/2017 10:33:11 pm
Julie, EVERY time I have ever tried running I have developed shin splints. Once in 7th grade I tried cross country and had them so badly I couldn't walk and was downright miserable (even with a young persons body vs. an adult, right??!!). Sometimes when I go on long walks I still get shin pain....glad I don't need to hate myself for running being hard. In all seriousness, I needed this blog today. It fits right into my mindset and I think if I pray about it a bit too it will likely help my "heart set" too. Keep on blogging Julie....you are touching lives left and right. I'm glad God keeps you on your couch typing and blogging away haha! Heal up friend and write on.
10/9/2017 10:50:52 pm
Thanks for sharing, Mindy. I'm sorry you've also experienced shin splints. The struggle is real! Finding time to write isn't always easy, so being forced to rest on my couch for a little bit did help. :) If you ever want a friend to walk with let me know. We can wave to the runners as they pass us.
10/11/2017 09:13:40 pm
Julie, this one had a very profound message, yet also made me really laugh - especially the "Mine was more like a couch to 2K back to the couch experience"! I'm still trying to figure out when it's time to accept something or to press through or to know when maybe this just isn't the season. At whatever stage I may be in, this was a good reminder to be at peace at where I am right now knowing the Lord has it all under control. Thank you!
10/11/2017 10:33:20 pm
Julie, life is so much better with laughter, isn't it? I agree that it's hard to know when it's time to accept something or to move on. I struggle with that too. Those are the times where I often ask God for wisdom. Sometimes that wisdom will come through other people and sometimes it will just be a sense of peace about the decision.
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I'm an ordinary introvert who loves an extraordinary God.