Running on Empty

From Alan G.

Isn’t it interesting how sometimes what starts as a great idea and a positive life change can turn into something quite the opposite? This happened to me when I decided to rekindle my interest in running. I participated in cross country during high school, and it was a positive experience, thanks largely to my coach, Randall Hess.  As an adult, I chose to return to running as a hobby. After all, it was a great way to stay active; it was healthy and cheap; I could do it just about anywhere; I could make it fit my schedule; and I could use the time to organize my thoughts, ideas, lesson plans, practice plans and prayers. Perfect, right? Not exactly.

My new adventures in running began as they should. Nice and easy pace, 30 minutes or so, three or four miles, three or four times a week. Quite enjoyable. Then I was bit by the running bug. Soon all those parameters changed. I wanted to run faster. I wanted to run longer. I wanted to run more miles. I began entering road races and competing almost every weekend. Suddenly the benefits and purposes that I sought through running were now on the back burner. A hobby became a passion; a passion became an obsession. It was not good, and “The Streak” made it worse.

My goal was to run EVERY DAY for three miles or more. And so “The Streak” began, and with it came recording my time and miles logged on the calendar. I created a monster living inside of me. On the outside, I was fit, healthy and happy. On the inside, I couldn’t get away from “The Streak,” and I was miserable.

Then, thankfully, an injury occurred. It began as a sore heel that advanced to plantar fasciitis. Finally, after 542 consecutive days and a heel turned hamburger, “The Streak” came to an end. I was dejected, sad and deflated at first. But ending “The Streak” actually set me free! I was able to rest and rehab my body and my heel, but more importantly I was able to refocus my life and concentrate on what was really important. I am thankful that God found a way to set me straight, to help me rectify the healthy harm I had created, not only for me but my family.  

Lord, please help us prioritize our lives with you at the center of everything we do. Help us overcome the earthly things that take our time, energy and focus away from what is truly important. In your name we pray, amen.  

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Candi Winckel - March 28th, 2022 at 9:18am

Alan, I can’t identify with running (or vigorous exercise of any kind for that matter🙄), but I can identify with getting my priorities straight! God is good all the time-we just have to listen to Him. Thank you for your reminder.

Rebecca - March 31st, 2022 at 4:27pm

All consuming activities are hard to see what they have turned into till we get out of them. Glad you were ‘forced’ out in a simple enough way.

Lorrie T - April 4th, 2022 at 11:11pm

Thank you, Alan for reminding me that I need to keep God at the center of my life. Why do I so easily forget that simple, concise, clear and glorious message?