Exercise and the Divine

Our Lady of Sorrows, South Orange, New Jersey

Our Lady of Sorrows, South Orange, New Jersey

I just read an article on Ironman.com about a man who, at 50 years old, decided to register for and train for his first Ironman triathlon. The story isn't about how amazing it is for a person "of this age" to achieve such a tremendous athletic accomplishment, but rather about the spiritual journey he experiences during training and during the race itself. The subject of the story, Michael Lantz, presumably has a strong relationship with God, and through that, he is able to use his training and racing for a purpose. 

Reading this article brought back some memories from this past summer. There have been some big changes in my personal life in the past year, and throughout much of this time, I find myself thinking about my own relationship with God (and by God I don't mean a bearded man, white robe, judgement sort of entity.) Do I even have one? How do I manifest it and pay homage to it?

As part of this questioning, I tried many things. Writing. Reading. I tried to find peace and reflection through meditation, but, as has happened many times before, I thought, "That's not for me." Or is it? 

During this time of internal questioning, I was on a run along a street I run along very often, and I was reminded of the relationship I have with running. No, it's not simply a means to a goal of being faster, stronger and able to run longer. Rather, it's a time of reflection for me. It's a time that is all mine, where I am forced to be alone with my thoughts. And in that time of active motion, I find my thoughts "un-jumble". I am able to think clearly about things that have been jumping around in my brain. The thoughts settle, and, remarkably, my brain and my mind quiets. 

The picture of the church at the top of this entry is a beautiful church I pass on many of my runs. Often, as I run by, there are people entering or leaving for services, a celebration, a funeral.

It always strikes me, in those moments, as I'm running by, that they have their church, and I have mine. 

Allison KalschedComment