I hadn’t planned to run the Country Music Half Marathon—until I found out that Dave Ramsey offered to give $500 to a charity of our choice (and $1,000 if we broke two hours).
Knowing that I could earn $1,000 for a ministry I cared deeply about made it too tempting to pass up. I talked to my husband, and then decided to sign up.
Friday night, the night before the marathon, I was Instagramming the classic pre-race photo of my outfit when I asked my husband, “How long has it been since I raced?”
He responded, “Two years.”
“TWO YEARS?! I used to do about TEN races PER year!”
“Yes, the last time we raced was the week before our wedding.”
I sat there amazed.
I would have never guessed it had been that long. I couldn’t believe that I let years go by without doing something that I genuinely love to do.
I didn’t plan to let that happen. I didn’t lose that part of myself on purpose. But we never plan to, do we?
Over time, little by little, we stop doing the things we love. We don’t stop for any particular reason, but one crazy week follows another busy month and somehow years go by without a race. Then we realize we’ve moved on and left something behind—something we still love.
But these things that we love are a part of us. And when we get too busy for them, we’re not just giving up the thing; we’re giving up a part of ourselves.
So how do we get it back?
How do we get back to racing, painting, sewing, building, playing the guitar, or swimming? As I discovered for myself, we just do it.
We sign up for a race, sit down in front of a canvas, buy the materials, or get in the pool and just do the thing.
It’s in the doing that we remember what it feels like to reconnect with this part of ourselves.
People often experience this after attending church when it’s been a while or after a good sweaty workout when they’ve been idle for months. They say things like:
“Man, I forgot how good that feels.”
“Gosh, I forgot how much I love that.”
Over time, we forget these things. But all it takes is doing it once and we remember.
And here’s the best part of getting back to doing what you love: It’s not just you who benefits.
After I set a personal record in the half marathon, I walked over to mile 19.4 of the full marathon and waited to jump in with my friend from my small group, Brandon.
I had run the full Country Music Marathon before and knew what an incredibly challenging race that it is physically and mentally—and this was his first. I didn’t know how long I would last, and I hadn’t even trained for the half marathon properly, but I knew that I could be there to help encourage him on the toughest part of the race.
What happened next didn’t surprise me though. I ran the rest of it—7 more miles—with him all the way through the finish line.
Even though I ran 20 miles total that day, it didn’t feel so difficult because it’s something that I love. And now I was offering that part of me, the love-of-running part of me, to my friend.
When you’re doing what you love, you remember how much you love it.
And when you remember that, you can’t help but offer it to others.