The funny thing is: I hate being cold. It totally bothers me. A lot. But I love running more than I hate being cold. So I suck it up, buttercup, and pull on my fleece leggings, wool socks, base layer, outer layer, fleece jacket, hat, gloves and I run anyway.

I have been a “serious” runner for a year. I ran my first 5k in 2016. It was hard and my pace was slow, but in the end, when I crossed the finish line and received that little finisher’s medal I knew that I wanted to do that again. So I signed up for the local Shamrock Shuffle. And then the following year’s Turkey Trot. And the next, and the next, and before we knew it, my sister-in-law and I had a family tradition. We didn’t stop there. We signed up for the Flying Pig Half-Marathon and spent most of 2020 running 3+ miles 2-3 times a week. We’ve gotten closer over the past year by freezing and sweating together. It’s not as cold when you have someone running with you.

I also started running with a friend who participates in triathlons. We started building distance by adding an extra mile onto our run every weekend. It was with her that I ran my first 10k – not a race, but because we wanted to see if we could. When the Pig was cancelled due to Covid-19, I ran my first 15k – solo. The last mile was the hardest, but I finished it. I celebrated with a nap. It was awesome.

I joined a running group and met other kick-butt ladies who are just as crazy as I am and enjoy running in freezing temperatures. Through that group I reconnected with a HS/college friend and made some new ones. For my 32nd birthday I ran 32 miles over a 4-day period. I plan on keeping the tradition of running my birthday miles for years to come.

I’ve lost a little bit of steam due to the buckets of snow that have fallen over the past couple weeks, but the drive and the flow are coming back to me as I press on, duck out in the weather, and try to avoid the ice patches the best I can.

The point here is simple: I run because I can. I want to. I like the challenge of trying to beat my last time, run one mile further than before, and adapting to different terrain. I run now because I want to run 5 or 10 or 15k races when I’m 80. I run because I like feeling strong. I’m always surprised by how far my body can take me.

Running means showing up when it’s cold, when it’s hot, and when I’m tired and just want to sleep in. Running means training my muscles to overcome obstacles and then allowing myself to rest and recover. Running is such an organic discipline and I love discovering how far I can go and how strong I can become.

Running sets a precedent for the rest of my life: showing up when it’s hard, when it’s easy, and when I’m tired of the world and want to crawl back in bed. It means training my mind to think through obstacles and letting myself rest. It means living a life of disciplined callings: one to better my self-growth, one to better my faith, one to better my parenting, one to better my marriage…the list goes on. As with running, life and faith are better when you have someone with you.

I don’t care how “out-of-shape” you are, how tired you are, or how much the world is against you. Show up anyway. Ask for advice. Seek the Lord. Buy better shoes. Equip yourself with what you need to succeed. Find a friend who will run with you through all four seasons and run anyway. You are Capable of doing more than you know and eventually you’ll find those little things – like freezing temps – don’t bother you anymore.

Run a good race. (2 Tim. 4:7)