By Ashlyn Adams Romaine
At age 42, in March of 2012, I started running with a group in my town following the Run for God program. It was started by someone who felt the call from God to do this. I actually missed the first meeting ... and wasn't so sure that I was sad about it.
Day 2 ... I arrived ... we stretched, we warmed up, we talked. The program started with a 5 minute warm up walk -- then run for 60 seconds (aka 1 minute) and walk for 90 seconds for a TOTAL time of 20 minutes. I, who was about 5'4.5" and about 133 pounds kept thinking (and telling the timing people) that their watches were WRONG ... 60 seconds HAD to be up. And I was yelling it from the back of the pack. And as I was yelling, my thighs ... oh how they burned.
Anyway, we progressed ... and we sweat ... and we didn't die. And I learned lessons along the way. And I learned about mantras. "No White Flags" became mine after reading about former New Orleans Saint Steve Gleason and his fight with ALS and how I just knew that he'd do anything to be able to WALK much less run. I didn't love running -- I didn't hate it either. My husband encouraged me to find something I might like better. I said "It's called Run for GOD ... GOD doesn't quit and neither will I".
And we completed our goal 5k in early May. It started at 9 am ... that's LATE and HOT in south Louisiana. It took me more than 43 minutes ... and some walking ... but I did it. I finished. And I wasn't happy. I wanted to RUN the whole thing. I didn't consider myself a runner.
The group kind of broke up during the summer with differing schedules and all. So I ran alone ... in the late evenings. And then fall came and WOW it was a little cooler. So I decided to sign up for an 8k Wounded Warrior Run sponsored by a local running store. I trained and trained. I worried and I worried. And on the ride to the start with a friend, I wanted to throw up. What had I done? The sponsoring store personnel told me that running, walking and even crawling were ALL acceptable modes of getting to the finish. Crawling? I can do that.
And I made it! Without crawling and only walked .33 miles of the 5. It was for such an awesome cause -- a friend of mine texted me right before. "Your purpose for running is greater than ANY finishing time". And she was right.
10K around the corner ... I was ready ... and not nervous at all. It was going to be what it was going to be. And I finished ... in the back but that was ok. I was a runner running against ME! No one else.
More 5ks. Let's see, there's a half in New Orleans in February. Friend to me: "let's do it"!! She was coming in from Seattle to do this on the anniversary of her mother-in-law's death -- a mother-in-law that she never met. Cancer sucks. Anyway, we trained distantly ... we motivated each other distantly. And on February 24, 2013, we ran our first half. She finished before I did -- I ended with horrid IT Band issues. But my purpose for running WAS greater than my finish time .. I was running for too many friends and family members who have been affected by cancer.
So off to the chiropractor and the physical therapist. And they both firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. And now that on I'm on the road to recovery, I see that. I've met some wonderful people along the way ... I've found a running support system ... I've done more than I ever thought I could or would with this body that God gave me. One that works and moves when so many don't have that ability.
Running has made me a healthier person ...I've lost a few pounds ... improved my cardiovascular health while lowering the risk of heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. Running has made me a more resiliant person ... I'm still learning to deal with disappointment and injury and the feelings that go with these things. Patience has never been my strong point but through this experience it's getting perhaps a little better.
I'm so glad that I didn't quit ... and even today I keep plugging away. Afraid to take the "risk"??? Don't be ... the rewards way outweigh any risk and for me it's totally been a journey. A journey in learning about myself, about life and for me about giving Glory to God on every run.
And never forget, the hardest part is lacing up your shoes and once you set out, you are lapping everyone still on the sofa!!!
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