Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Before I start, it gives me great joy to tell you that our youngest daughter, Kylie, who is 9 is being raised in knowing God and knowing what a true Ohio State Buckeye fan is, even though she tells me she is going to go to OU, not OSU. One of my wife’s clients invited us to go to Gull Lake, a Christian family vacation retreat, which is in the state north of Ohio. When Kylie found out we were going she said ” Seriously, we have to go to that state up north. I can’t even say that word. UGGHH! ” Yes, raise ’em the right way while they are young. Go Bucks.
Now on to the running. To me, running and my faith are both a lot alike. Both are 90% mental. Some days I feel like I can run forever. Other days I feel like I shouldn’t even be out there. Some days I hit a wall and stop. Other days I push through that wall and overcome that voice in my head. I have found out the hardest part is always the first step. If I put on my shoes, I am out the door hitting the pavement. If I open my bible, I will read it. If I procrastinate, it usually won’t happen.
One example of the mental part of running is me running with my wife. I could go and run 7:20 miles all day without her, but then run with her at 7:40 pace and not be able to keep up. I could never beat her in a race either until one race I did. Then that mental block was gone and I finished before her every race after that.
Another example is for my wife. She said she would never run a marathon. It took me years to convince her to run one. After she finally did, now she can’t stop. She has ran two and qualified for New York City and Boston, which we will be going to. Once you get over the mental part of anything, running, faith, or anything else, you never know where it may take you.
My wife is also leading her first Run For God class at our church. She doesn’t like talking in front of people but when you start to live your life for God, He will put you in places you never thought you would be. We have helped out in other Run For God classes at another church and have seen how it has helped hundreds of people that said they could never run a 5k. The amount of pride and joy you see in these runners/walkers when they cross the finish line is amazing. I encourage you to find a Run For God class in your area, strengthen your faith, strengthen yourself, connect with others. Running is a byproduct of the class and walking is allowed 🙂 but learning more about God, overcoming your own mental blocks, and connecting with strangers is what you will get from the class.
I have never been nor will I ever be the best in any race, age group or whatever. I know this but yet I try to better myself each race I run. About five or six years, not sure exactly, I was running on some trails and nothing out of the ordinary happened. When I got home my knee was swollen and I could barely walk on it. I couldn’t figure out what had happened. We have a friend who is an orthopedic surgeon and he took a look at it and said I would more than likely need surgery. Me, being stubborn like I am, said no way. I rested it and slowly started to run again. I ran with pain for over a year. For some reason I looked up Jan Heppner-McConathy, I don’t remember why for I had never wanted to get a massage before. Jan is so much more than a massage though. She told me I didn’t need surgery. Most runners that come to her that say they need surgery don’t. They just have an imbalance in how they stretch. They stretch 3 out 4 quads, 2 out of 3 hamstrings etc. It was a miracle. Within three days of stretching the correct way, I could run without pain.
When I run 1/2 marathons I have always finished in top 10% overall, usually in top 5%. My first half marathon was like a 1:45 and my fastest was a 1:35 ( I was in top 1% for that race). That race I was feeling it, everything was right ( I was also running 20 lbs lighter than normal and I was running mad at the world so those two things helped- more on that in a later blog) . That was two years ago. I ran my fastest that spring then my second fastest in August. This was emotional because it was the day of my dad’s funeral- yes I ran on the morning of my dad’s funeral (we all grieve in our own way)- on four hours sleep. I wanted it to be my fastest for him but it wasn’t meant to be. To be honest, I felt like running half marathons were getting to feel like nothing. I wouldn’t be sore or tired after them. God saw me getting full of myself.
My wife and I decided to do our first full marathon, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, in October 2013. We did our long runs together but for some reason when we did 15, 16, and 17 mile runs, I started cramping bad and my hip started hurting. I never ran more than 17 miles during training but my wife went up to 20. We started the race and everything felt good. We were running with the 3:45 pace group , which would qualify my wife for Boston. Around mile 16 she had to stop to use the bathroom, which seemed like it took forever. We started to go again and within a mile I felt my knee go. I told her to go on and I would finish one way or the other. I’ve always considered myself to be mentally tough, sometimes to the point of being stupid but hey, I am what I am. I kept going, run ( or should I say hobble) until it hurt too bad to run, then walk, then repeat. It took me longer to do the last 9 miles than it did the first 17 but I did finish in 4:25.
I gave my knee some rest and tried to run again a couple weeks later and couldn’t go. From my past experience with my knee, I thought I could just stretch more and run it out little by little and it would get better. It didn’t. I had an MRI done and was told I tore my meniscus. Not only that, it was torn where it couldn’t be fixed, only taken out. Doctors advice : NEVER RUN AGAIN. I could walk fine, go up and down stairs fine, workout fine, etc. the only thing I couldn’t do is run so doctor told me as long as I could do those things, we could hold off on the surgery.
I bought a bike. An expensive last year model half off bike that still cost too much. If I couldn’t run, at least I was going to figure out how to get some workout in. I liked it more than I thought I would but it wasn’t running. I was able to see parts of my town and surrounding areas I had never seen before. I enjoyed it but I didn’t enjoy having to ride 2-3 hours to get the same benefits of running 45 minutes to an hour.
Over time I would try to run here and there and some days I could do one to two miles and other days I couldn’t do 100 yards. One thing I did do almost every day was pray to God that he would heal my knee. Stupid prayer I know considering how many people are dying every day from cancer and other illnesses but God says in Matthew 21:22 “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” I was willing to trust God, even if the answer was no. Something would come from this, even if I could never run again.
January 18, 2015. Go get on the treadmill. Huh? Go get on the treadmill. The voice in my head was telling me go. So I went. I ran 3 miles for the first time in 15 months. When it started to hurt, the voice said keep going, push through it. So I did. A couple days later, go get on the treadmill. So I did. I ran 5 miles. A couple days later, go get on the treadmill. So I did. I couldn’t run a mile. Hey God, what’s up with that? Hey Rob, read Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Ok God, I get it. I give it all to you. If you heal my knee, I will run for you, run with a God shirt on, and I will live my life for you. I will not be perfect, but I will be better than I have been.
Over the next 3 months I was able to run. No pain, unless my stride was too long on a step or two. Because of circumstances at work, I had to work three weeks straight in April leading up to the race. There goes the training I had planned. In this life, there will be troubles and setbacks. Whenever you make a commitment to the Lord, be prepared to face the enemy’s unrelenting attempt to set you back. I could’ve said I am not ready, I can’t do this race. But I made that commitment to God, heal my knee and I will run in Your name. I had one run longer than five miles in the three and a half months, and 18 months since my injury, leading to the race. I was not ready. The temperature rose fifteen degrees in 2 hours. I ran 30 minutes slower than my slowest race ever. I was grateful. I met a guy who ran with me a couple miles and we shared our faith in God together and I can tell you I have never done that, in a race or in life. I was grateful.
I am still running without pain and some thoughts come in my head to go get a MRI done again just to see if it’s healed. I won’t do that. I know what God has done for me. I have no doubts it is healed. I would gladly never run another step if a cure for cancer could be found for I know my injury and healing of it means nothing to those that fight for life everyday and I would gladly give it all up for them.
Is it a coincidence that since January, when God and I talked and I actually started to do what I said I would do for Him, not what I wanted to do for me, that my life is different. That I am now sharing my faith, my words, my music. When I kicked the doubts out about paying to have my music done, boom my heart grew. When I kicked out the doubts about sharing my life and my words, boom my heart grew wings.
Have faith. Pray daily. In God’s time, your prayers will be answered. It took over a year for me to run again. It took five years for all the pieces to fit together for my music to be shared. Trust in the Lord.
Now my playlist. I hate to put 27 songs on here but that’s always my goal. Two songs per mile, 13.1 miles, 26 plus 1, just in case, songs so here goes. Keep in mind I am a lyric guy, not a beats per minute guy. I’ve changed some over the years but I would say at least 15-16 of these have been my running partner for a long time.
Shine by Three Doors Down- this is my time, let’s go
Never Be Here Again by Hoobastank – So true, never know when your running days are behind you, is this your last race?
Our House by Burn Halo – could be greatest college football song of all time
Next Contestant by Nickelback – who am I passing next
Rise Up by Green River Ordinance – time to rise up, there may not be a second chance
Best Day of My Life by American Authors – I’m running with 15,000 of my closest friends, what could be better
I Just Wanna Run by Downtown Fiction – title says it all
Scars by Papa Roach – one of my favorite bands and this song take me somewhere
You’re Going Down by Sick Puppies – listen to the lyrics, yes I feel the heat coming off the blacktop and it makes me want it more
Just Run by Digital Summer – you think you have what it takes, let’s find out
Play It Again by Luke Bryan- love this song. gets me in a good mood
A Lifetime by Better Than Ezra – honestly I could see me doing something like this
I Lived by OneRepublic – Give it all you have and live life
Face Everything and Rise by Papa Roach – halfway done or so, time to put up or shut up
Born Again by Newsboys – time for God to get me through some miles with the next few songs
Good To Be Alive by Skillet – my fav Christian band.
Promises by DA Truth – Gods promises will always get you through
Dear X, You Don’t Own Me by Disciple – put the pain out of my head
Always Remember by Stereoside – reach down and dig deeper
In My Head by Jason Derulo –
Eye On It by Tobymac – time to start thinking of the finish
Centuries by Fallout Boy – you will remember me
The Champ by Nelly – I’ve been training for this
My Body by Young the Giant – my body says quit but my I want more
Born to Rise by Redlight King – we are the ones with the fire inside
The Champion In Me by Three Doors Down – I was born to be this way
Eye of the Tiger by Survivor – how else would I finish