Thursday, May 5, 2011

Real Runners

I like to think of myself as a runner. Several times each week, I’ll lace up a pair of running shoes and pound out four or five miles. In addition, I participate in several 5K (3.1 mile) races over the course of the summer, topped off with our Oktoberfest 10K (6.2 mile) race. Ever now and then, though, I am confronted by the traits of real runners, and I have to admit to myself that I’m really just playing at it.

I usually feel like I’ve accomplished something if I cover 15-20 miles in a week. A real runner regularly covers half that distance in a single outing. I am easily deterred by wind, rain, snow, and ice. Not so, the real runner. If the air is cold enough to numb exposed flesh, I’m staying in. The real runner either lets the flesh get numb or bundles up and defies the frigid temperatures. Real runners are disciplined in their training, their nutrition, and their equipment. I have one pair of shoes for running and the cheapest gym shorts I can fine. I eat anything that passes within reach, and I have no real training program.

In short, if you want to see what a runner looks like, don’t look at me!

Have I sufficiently telegraphed the spiritual analogy?

I like to think of myself as a Christian. I participate in the liturgy, say a few prayers, read the Bible once in a while, and try to live a moral life. Every now and then, though, I meet or read about a real Christian, and then I have to admit to myself that maybe I’m just playing at it.

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