I’ve always felt more things applied to running than not, at least symbolically. In many ways, my involvement in running has helped me to preserver in different aspects of my life such as enduring suffering, understanding the work needed to achieve a goal, appreciate delayed gratification and the need to see the big picture and not to focus only on the immediately accessible.
Running certainly applies to faith. The apostle Paul knew and understood that. He was no stranger to running or at least he was aware of running as a sport.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (Cor 1.9 24-27)
“I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain.” (Gal 2:2)
- “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?” (Gal 5:7)
- “And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.” (Phil 2:16)
- “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Tim 4:7)
I am forever applying the lessons and symbolic virtues of running to my life and I can’t help escape it now as I look at another plus 50 birthday and deal with the issues of life. As with any runner in the midst of training I am sometimes in need of a long recovery run. I need to recover from the hard intervals, challenging, exhausting competition and other efforts. I need to flush the system of all the lactic acid, impurities and hopefully expand and make the system more efficient. Most people call them vacations or extended weekends, but for me these recovery runs take the form of walks, retreats or simply spending more time doing the fun and easy things that make me happy and or sane. Some times they have very little to do with spirituality and definitely nothing to do with work and being a priest, although taking those recovery runs make me better at all of those things.
Like any worthwhile long run it isn’t always easy, I mean a long run of 20 miles, while good and effective for a runner, still takes ambition to do it and even though it may be done at an easy pace there does come a time when blood sugars drop and carbohydrates can get depleted. Even so, the determined runner must continue and I know that the long runs I take in life will be no different. Like most long runs, it will be easy and fun at first, but difficult at different points along the way. These long runs are absolutely necessary and needed for me to improve as a Christian, person and yes, a runner. It is, as author Matt McCue described “An Honorable Run.” (Thanks Matt!) I invite you to follow along and perhaps attempt your own recovery run in your own way.
The following posts under the category “A Recovery Run” will be my personal attempt to apply the many gifts, blessings, benefits and lessons learns in the great classroom of running. I’ll see you along the way of my “Recovery Run”