We’re within 2 weeks of the Women’s Half Marathon – Nashville. Driving home from work today, I saw signs up along my route warning people that the roads would be shut down the morning of September 24th. Even though I’m ready, it’s hard to believe that it’s that soon.
I had a stellar 12 mile run on Saturday with a running group that was a bit too fast for me. I panicked a little after seeing the pace of the first two miles, but I settled into my groove and was able to hang on and enjoy the ride. The cooler, drier weather was a blessing, and even with the much faster pace, I felt better than I did on my 11-miler the week before.
This is my third week of my new position as a chaplain at a pediatrics’ hospital. I’ve done chaplaincy work before on a shorter-term basis, and I think it has a lot of running corollaries. Running makes me a better chaplain, and being a chaplain makes me a better runner.
Now that I’ve been running for just over a year, I’m realizing that I do it less and less for its visible effects on my body and more for the therapeutic aspect. When I run in the morning before heading to the hospital, it’s me time - time to set up my intentions for the day, wake up my body, and get my physical, spiritual, and mental juices flowing. When I run in the evening, it’s my time to debrief, be angry, be grateful, and turn stuff over in my head so I can leave it for the night. Running is my time to take care of myself, both physically and mentally, so that I can take care of my patients.
And while it doesn’t feel like it when I’m rolling out of bed at 5 am, I GET to run. I used to greet statements like that with some eye-rolling because I never understood it, but now I do. I GET to run and be outside and go to beautiful outlooks like the one above or just enjoy how green my normal running path is lately. An 18 year-old girl with leukemia who spent her birthday in the hospital isn’t able to do that, at least not right now. So I’ve started running for the people I meet in the hospital, patients and families, holding them in my heart and praying for them with my feet and my breath.