Saturday, January 5, 2013

Running, Racing, Rationalizing, Training.

I was supposed to run a 5k this 7:30am.  I am an inveterate night owl, so getting up this early is always a struggle (I needed to leave the house at 6:30 in order to get there on time).  It is probably one of my biggest concerns about going into religious life--can I reset my biological clock to be able to get up early to pray?  I even struggle to get up on weekdays to be at work at 8am, although I am better about getting up if I can get to bed at a decent hour.  Last night was not one of those nights, mostly because I drank strong coffee after 8pm. So, I wasn't able to get to sleep until close to 1am.  This meant that I had trouble getting out of the door in time to begin the race on time, and ultimately, while I did make it to the race, I was 5 minutes late getting to the starting line.  In addition, my late start meant that I did not have time to eat breakfast--needless to say, my running time was not my best!

As I was driving home, thinking about my run, I kept thinking about a snippet of a verse from I Corinthians 9:24-27--

Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Well, I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air; but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
 As I begin looking toward the half-marathon that I plan to run in February, the Marathon I plan to run in October, and then walking the Camino at the end of this year, I am realizing that the physical training is going to take up a lot of my time if I'm wanting to finish these things successfully....Even though I have been exercising regularly, to be able to do all of these long distance events, I must build up my stamina, which means putting in the miles and the time it takes to build up the miles--taking the stairs every day isn't enough.  I'm ok with that, but it also means finding the time, which means either getting up early or taking time away from my evening.  It means having the commitment to go out and train, even if it is cold or rainy, or hotter than I would like it to be.  It means exercising even if I'd really rather vegetate in front of the TV or sleep in. 

The thing is that I should also be doing this with my walk with God....How often do I prefer to sleep in rather than go to daily mass?  How often do I choose sleep over Adoration on First Fridays?  How often do I choose to procrastinate rather than work diligently while at work?  How often do I give in to the temptation to commit those little sins in my life? I like to rationalize that I'm too tired or busy or...whatever! The reality is that I'm just giving in to my human nature when I do that, when I should be training--whether we admit it or not, we are all in spiritual training, and that means we need to practice for the race we all want to win. 

I know that I can't do everything, and as I am training for the physical challenges ahead of me this year, I need to modify what I can do spiritually--If I run in the morning, I won't be able to go to daily mass!  Even so, life is a balance, and I need to make a point of making time for both the physical and the spiritual aspects of is the only way that my pilgrimage at the end of the year will be successful!

Looks cold, doesn't it?  I will be walking the Camino in conditions similar to this!