Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Grace of a Poor Run

On the day before Easter, we had a break in the rain that’s been an incessant feature of our Ohio spring this year, and I ventured out for a run. With the start of this year’s 5K tour just a week away, I felt the need for some outdoor miles. The vast majority of my running since Autumn has been indoors. Nevertheless, I was getting miles in, and I was hopeful for a good tour.

I was barely ¼ mile into my 4½ mile loop when the thought hit me: “I am going to be so disappointed next week.” That Holy Saturday run ended up being miserable. At 2½ miles I diverted onto the high school track and ran another ½ mile before slowing to a walk. I was able to tack on another ½ mile of jogging before walking home with my head hanging, hoping that nobody would see my personal walk of shame.

I had no energy that day. I was dead, I thought. Then the additional thought came, “As dead as Christ in the tomb on Holy Saturday.” Shaking my head, I thought, “There I go, spiritualizing my running again.” I can’t help but wonder whether other runners do the same, and I thanked God for granting me the reminder of the day’s significance.

To be honest, I don’t know whether my miserable runs are actual graces or not. They are certainly sources of frustration, and I often wonder whether the causes are primarily mental of physical. Was my Holy Saturday fatigue a result of the Good Friday fast, or was my will to run particularly weak that day?

Whatever the true cause might be, I find that my faith places even my failures within a spiritual context, providing opportunities for growth at least in understanding, if not holiness.

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