Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Run for God

For the past few months, I have been complaining non-stop to anyone who would listen that, "I am getting fat", "I can't fit into my jeans" and the ever present, "Marriage will make you fat!"

Well my friends, at the encouragement of a dear friend, I have joined the "Run for God" group at Riverland Hills Baptist Church. The program is designed after the "Couch to 5k" running regime. The first week you start out by jogging for 60 seconds followed by walking for 90 seconds, alternating for a 20 minute period. We meet in the church parking lot every Tuesday and Saturday to train for a 5k (some will be running a 10k) in May (http://www.getinthepink.org/). We then are required to run once more for a total of three training sessions per week. There is also a Bible study held on Sundays.


So, last Sunday, I was driving to the first Bible study/sign up session. Saying I was nervous and doubtful was an understatement. Thoughts of "I can't do this", "I will fail", "what if I am the biggest, slowest person there?" flooded my mind. Self doubt has always plagued my life.

When I arrived, donning new New Balance running shoes with bright green trim, I was greeted by smiling faces. All ages, sizes and genders were present. It was encouraging to see an older grandfather sitting a few sections over, a mother in her mid fifties sitting with her much younger daughter. The session started and we were asked to stand up and introduce ourselves by giving our name and a fun fact. Most people would say their name and explain why they joined the group. There were comments like, "I want to lose weight", "my daughter is making me do this" and for many, this was their second go round with Run for God. They got so much out of it, they wanted to do it again. So, my turn came around. I stood up and said, "Hi, my name is Jessica Ackerman. I used to run for punishment when I used to play softball and would miss a pop-fly. I am hoping to get a renewed sense of running." People chuckled, nodding their heads like they knew exactly what I was talking about.

I went home that night, encouraged by all of the positive comments and success stories. Tuesday came and I rushed from a counseling appointment after work to the very first running session. It was chilly. I was out of my element. I was downright awkward in the bright green New Balances. I thought, "who am I kidding? I am NOT a runner...I don't run unless it's away from my husband when he is trying to tickle me."

After a brief prayer, the 5k group split from the 10k group. I wanted to beg my friend Brooke to change her mind, to run the 5k program with me. But I bucked up and walked over to the 5 k group where we started our 5 minute walk warm up. I heard a countdown 10-9-8...3-2-1, then a whistle. People around me started jogging, I found myself keeping with their pace. I focused on the person in front of me, breathing in 1-2-3. Breathing out: 1-2-3. Repeating. Focused. Soon the countdown again 10-9-8...3-2-1. Whistle. Walking. 90 seconds later: 10-9-8...3-2-1. Whistle. Running. 60 seconds later....

During some of the walking portions, I would chat with another runner. Asking for tips about breathing and stride.

After 20 minutes of the jog, walk, jog, walk...it was over. I felt amazing. Energized. I left with a smile and went right over to purchase running shorts and an athletic top. I was tempted to stop and get a frosty for a reward but figured the shorts and top were good enough. Plus...if you get a frosty, you have to get fries to dip in the frosty and that is just sad.

Saturday morning was FREEZING cold. I wanted to wear my new shorts and I did. I won't make that mistake again.

So, here I am on week two. Everytime I see someone run I think, "That could be me. That will be me."

Here is to running and not giving up.