This weekend was somewhat spiritual. Okay, it was really spiritual. I had the blessing to set out for 15-mile run with a wonderful friend and woman, Ruth. Ruth is training for the Shamrock Marathon in March, and I’m training for a whole slew of races in 2013 including 3 sprint triathlons, 1 Olympic triathlon, Ironman 70.3, a half marathon (or two), and marathon. The opportunity to run 15-miles was in my favor for week 2 IM 70.3 training, and I took it.
Ruth is an amazing person because she … well, how do I say this … she could be my mother, and she is running for her bucket list marathon at age 60. I am so inspired by her determination and passion to achieve this goal in her life. Another thing about Ruth is her deep devotion to her faith in God. She is the congregational health coordinator with our local hospital system. She is skilled in parish/church nursing and knows the impact that healthy congregations have in serving their community. I have learned so much from her over the past year, mostly through our mutual like of running and shared partnerships.
Ruth and I at 2012 Point of Honor 5K
We set out from the Boonsboro Starbucks and headed toward downtown, Main Street, in fairly decent time. It was a slushy start as most of the sidewalks were still covered with half-melted snow. It was nice to cross over the Rivermont Avenue bridge and look down at the paved trail below to see the bike and foot tracks that had made their marks earlier in the day. We passed by the Lynchburg Community Market and took a left turn down to the Percival’s Island Trail. We decided we’d turn around at the end of the bridge that crosses over to Amherst County (just under 7.5 miles).
Ruth and I at the 2012 Richmond Half Marathon
Heading back from the slushy bridge, it was clear we were losing steam. I kept repeating in my head Luke 18:27.
Jesus says (my paraphrase), “You think you can do this by yourself? No chance. Trust God to do it, and you will.” This has been my theme all along with starting to run and now to complete triathlons. There is no absolute way I am doing these things; I want to quit and lay down on the ground…but something keeps me moving forward.
As we truck back up the Washington Street and Rivermont Avenue hills, taking the time to walk here and there, stopping to refill our water at Riverside Runners, and then “babyjogging” and walking that last mile back to Starbucks, we finish the distance. But, no thanks to the major muscle spasm (i.e., charley horse) in my left calf – a sign that I need a better hydration source on longer runs other than water.
It was a live and learn life opportunity and sharing it with Ruth was inspiring. I am starting to think I am an inspiration-junkie. Like I get super duper happy when other people are happy and they are doing something that just totally seems impossible, but it’s not. I search for such stories and try to emulate the best of the qualities being portrayed because I see how when I’m inspired, so are others. Still, I try hard not to be too annoying with my happiness, excitement, and spunk. But this next thing has me all sorts of expectant and anxious for results!
I had missed church last Sunday due to the heinous sinus infection that invaded my face. Fortunately for me, my church is awesome and posted last week’s message online so I could get caught up and learn about a new opportunity. Our pastor, Jon, proposed a challenge: a collective 21-day fast to reevaluate life in order to honor God with the sacrifice of food, to feel the rhythms of our faith again. Life gets busy and I’m so very grateful for this push to recalibrate through fasting. There are a few options for fasting and I’ve opted for the Daniel Fast. While choice foods are not on the plate, I will be eating fruits and vegetables and only drinking water through February 18th. Not only will this be challenging physically, but spiritually as well. I will want to make excuses and allowances, and justify consuming things because “I need them.”
A fast is about a spiritual commitment to praying about a specific problem for a specific answer. Personal revelation, spiritual awakening, healing and health are the focus for this fast – for Elisha, for my church, and to know God deeper than ever before.
I started to worry this afternoon when explaining to the kids about how my diet will be different over the next few weeks. They were deeply moved, because of the reasons I am fasting for, and said they wanted to do it too. I started to talk them out of it, telling them it might not be a good idea for them to go three weeks on a fast. But then I heard it, and I felt it.
“Who are you to deny them this opportunity?” – God
Just like on my 15-mile run, I was challenged. “You can’t do this. But I can.”
I prayed, “God, help me practice stewardship, with my family, in nourishing our bodies with the healthiest foods – fruits, vegetables, and water – for healing and restored health. Make it known what you want to accomplish.” So, we are going to take this journey together. (It’s a good thing my kids love fruits and vegetables! Lots of beans, potatoes, corn, and greens for us!!)
I will share updates as we move through the 21 days. Thank you for your prayers!
Joel 2:13-14 (MSG) says,
“Change your life, not just your clothes.
Come back to God, your God.
And here’s why: God is kind and merciful.
He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot,
This most patient God, extravagant in love,
always ready to cancel catastrophe.
Who knows? Maybe he’ll do it now,
maybe he’ll turn around and show pity.
Maybe, when all’s said and done,
there’ll be blessings full and robust for your God!”
[Disclosure: For those who will read this and worry or scoff at the idea that my kids are partaking in this fast, I am not worried about their ability to eat healthy foods. Rest assure they, and I, can live on fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices for this time period. Even in consideration of my upcoming triathlon training weeks, I am confident that I will be able to meet my basic nutritional needs adequately. Besides, who needs chicken wings for the Superbowl when you can have guacamole? Strawberries are better than candy hearts for Valentine’s Day anyway! :)]