The second in an occasional series by Nancy Constantine
am an outside runner – no gym, no treadmill. Part of the experience is the elemental challenges of the seasons. How odd that my spring training was plagued with wind chill, unpredictable cold snaps, snow and ice; and this fall, I am enjoying record-breaking heat and humidity. Being outside also allows me to be in touch with the universe, the vast expanse, the comings and goings of people and places along my routes of Henderson Highway, Kildonan Drive, Glenwood Crescent, Scotia Street and the playful atmosphere of Kildonan Park.
During my training, I discovered that I am a ‘lone’ runner, which may be reflective of my ‘one’ energy in the Enneagram, and the fact that I live alone. This way there is no pressure to compete – to keep up or slow down although on several practice runs, I often was the ‘pace bunny’. On my own, I invite solitude for contemplation and reflection or could it be that I am making room for that mysterious companion to enter my zone and shape the course of my run? As Christians, we believe in a risen, present and active God and I often wonder how that relationship is lived out among fellow Christians. Is there a perception that God is within us, surrounds us, or actually runs beside us? Is God robed and angelic in nature or athletic wearing Nikes? For me, God has been responsive in giving me tangible needs such as ice for my water when my body has been overheated; access to a washroom when my pre-run regime was off schedule and intangible gifts such as energy, stamina, and intention. He has given me overwhelming joy and satisfaction when milestones have been reached like the first time I achieved 10 miles – everyone on my street knew! At 13 miles, my pre-race run was marked by tears comparable to that of an Olympic athlete. In Isaiah 40:31, we are reminded that we shall run and not be weary; we shall walk and not faint. In the context of my life and time, that passage is true to my perseverance. John Stanton writes in Running: Start to Finish (Lone Pine Publishing, Edmonton, 1999, p. 13), “we have discovered that the euphoria that comes from the last 100 metres of a road race can be a powerful motivation in other facets of our lives. We soon learn that that sense of accomplishment breeds an improved self-esteem in just about everything we do. We find we have more energy and feel more positive about the challenges we face in our homes, our work and our communities. Runners care about themselves, and taking control and caring for your own health is a good start towards caring for others”.
The actual event on June 21st will be remembered with celebration by co-runners, our trainer, Jay and many phone calls, texts, and emails from East Coast family and local friends. Every runner will have a story of why they run, who they run with, the details of their regime and the root of their passion. Mine is no different. My story of running is humble and human. My first Half Marathon metal is an outward symbol but the intrinsic fulfillment I have achieved with that silent partner alongside has made me more in touch with my Creator, more in tune with that Mysterious Mentor and eager to share my journey with believers and non-believers alike. Sept. 26 is fast approaching and my training is on track. I will likely have another entry around that time. Keep moving forward – in whatever capacity you can!
(Reference: Stanton, John, Running: Start to Finish: