It is one thing to decide to wake up and run. It is quite another to wake up a few days later with incredible pain shooting through your shins each time you walk, to be sore in places you didn’t even know you had, and feel like giving up after only a week in!
Maybe I’m speaking a little too autobiographically, but have you been there? I have after I decided that I was just going to start running because I knew that I needed to get in shape. But it was pretty disasterois just a few days in. I wanted to give up, but someone recommended that I needed new shoes.
I found a local running store and walked in with my worn-out Nike Frees and told the owner that I might need to get some new running shoes. He took one look at me and said something like, “No, you DEFINITELY need some running shoes, and you need to throw those away…like, yesterday.” He actually refused to let me leave with them after I bought new shoes!
He proceeded to help analyze my running gait, asked me some questions about my running goals, and gave me some advice about how to best work to accomplish those goals. He was a life-long runner and had a lot of wisdom to drop on me.
There are a few things he shared with me that I have stuck with me, not just because it was helpful for running but is helpful for how I can better engage in the sort of work we do at HopeSprings.
The first thing he focused on was assessing where you are. This was huge! He asked me how long I could run without stopping (hint: an embarrassingly short amount of time!). He asked where I had to run, what my diet and weight looked like. It felt uncomfortable, but it helped me better name what I had and what I needed.
Secondly, I needed to get the right supports and plan. I needed good shoes, made for me. I needed the right clothing to keep me from chafing or being uncomfortable. I found a running plan that was very gradual, helping me build up the ability to run longer and longer distances (I went for the Couch to 5k method!). I needed to ask: were there people I could run with who would hold me accountable to getting my butt out of bed in the morning?
Last, he shared something I’ll never forget: “You don’t run just to get in better shape, you get in better shape so you can run.” This is so important for running and for HopeSprings. We don’t simply use opportunities for service to get better at service. We need some foundational training, some experiences and frameworks that help us think better about how and why we serve.
Equipping happens “off the path” as much as it happens on it. You might say, it’s a journey!
We have created an Equipping path for everyone who serves with us called the Journey. We work together to talk about how we can better serve our sisters and brothers in more holistic, HIV-aware, ways that consider stigma, discrimination, and different ways to engage. Consider joining us on the next Journey, October 6th. You can register here.
Join with us, as we support and equip one another to run our race together!
Next time, we will talk about other ways we are equipping…
Hey! Speaking of running…
Remember, you can #Run4Hope with me at the Baltimore Running Festival on Oct 20th. Create your own fundraiser page here.
Or, if you want to support my campaign, you can give here. All donations are completely tax deductible and go directly to HopeSprings.