20 minutes. That was my goal. 20 minutes of sweat and running. I went further than I had before. 2 miles instead of 1. Running instead of jogging. I pushed harder, intent on more success this time.
A mile in, I questioned my sanity. I'm not a runner. I'm out of shape. I don't do this often enough. What was I thinking?
Currently, I was thinking about the waffle I'd eat when I got home. The air shifted and I swore I could smell sausage. I'm allergic to sausage, yet I'd eat some right now. If only it'd keep me from running more. It's hot. It's humid. And I, like an idiot, am running.
I went down the last slope and prepared for the final hill. why why why. Why was this harder than any other time? Pushing myself wasn't the issue. Everyone who wants to get better at something has to push. Athletes, scholars, businessmen- going outside the comfort zone is part of the growth process.
Then I remembered what I hadn't done.
Of course, it seemed dumb in my mind. It shouldn't have mattered.
I've no question in my mind why non-believers question the existence of God if offering up suffering isn't an option. What's the point if it's not being used for any good? I consider running a suffering; a small one, but suffering nonetheless. It's sheer willpower that makes me pull on my running shoes and make my way all too slowly around our neighborhood at 9 pm. I'd gotten into the habit of choosing one intention to offer that run for each time I started out. A friend from school, a situation in my own life, a family member. The first person or thing which popped into my head as I took those first steps down my driveway- that's who got prayers out of my run.
But I'd forgotten. As I muttered a few short words under my breath -"For so-and-so"- it clicked. I offered up everything I gained from that run for the first person who entered my mind. And as I made the final third-of-a-mile loop, the final steps didn't seem quite so bad.