Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Reflections After Running for 105 Consecutive Days

Some reflections after my first 100 day Run Streak:

Running was never my thing. Quite frankly I couldn't see the point. As far as I was concerned running was something that the coach punished you with for not performing like you should on the basketball court. I'm a Hoosier. We do basketball in Indiana -- not running! During my freshman year of high school the cross-country coach called me up to the front of the study hall room and ask me to join the cross country team. I looked at him like he had lost his mind and walked back to my seat being both thankful that I had been asked and grateful that I had the courage to say "No way!" Thankfully the high school cross country coach was not the last person to encourage me to buy a pair of running shoes!

In the late 1980s my wife and I accepted assignment as missionaries to the west African nation of Guinea-Bissau. Before we could purchase our tickets we were required to spend a year and half raising the necessary funds that would sustain our first four years overseas. During this fundraising venture we would visit various churches and speak to them about our passion for Africa. During one of these visits the Pastor of the church (Don Gifford) kept talking about his new found passion for running and told me that I needed to start running too. I dismissed him about as fast as I had dismissed my high school cross country coach. That all changed, however, when we got to Africa. There were no basketball courts and in Guinea-Bissau even soccer balls were hard to come by. If you were going to stay fit in Guinea-Bissau running was your only option!

Between our first term in Africa and our second my wife gave birth to twin daughters. This was definitely going to be a challenge to my new found love for running. The solution? A twin jogging stroller! The girls and I logged tons of miles together in Senegal and along the beach front on the Cape Verde Island of Sao Vicente. Nobody had ever seen anything like it before! The stroller acted like a kite on the island of Sao Vicente when the wind was at your back, but when you turned around to head back home the kite felt more like parachute attached to your back as I struggled to take every step into the wind. The girls are now fifteen; and they still have fond memories of running and laughing with their dad off the coast of Africa.

If you were to look in my closet right now you would find at least six pairs of running shoes and not a single pair of basketball shoes! My passion for the court has been overtaken by my passion for running where there are no 'out-of-bounds' lines. When you run there is nothing that tells you that you can go here and no farther. The only lines that you cannot cross are the ones that you allow to creep into your mind. My biggest barrier is not distance, but time. I wish that I had more time to run the trails and the roads all alone. My best thinking and most intimate times of prayer happen on those long slow runs when there is no rush to get back to the house.


I'm thankful for people like Don Gifford, Jim Grams, Tad Finch, John Backes, and Michael Scott that have been an encouragement to both get me started and to keep me going along the way. It is my hope to be an encouragement to others in the same way that these men have been a blessing to me.

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