Sunday, May 18, 2014

A Sunday Out and Back in Easter Season Makes Me Think Of...

Today, I ran an out and back--sort of.  I drove to meet one of my running friends who ran her first Boston Marathon this year whom I had not seen in person since she ran Boston.  We met at "the corner" (33rd and Greenmount) and ran the Old Baltimore 10 Miler course.  It is definitely an out and back type of course from the zoo to Lake Montebello, around the Lake, and back again.  In this case, we went to the zoo, the back to more or less where we started, then to Montebello, and then back to the start.  So it was actually out and back in two different directions.  And I really dislike out and back courses at this point.  But I am happier to do them when I am with the good company of a fellow runner.  And I am even happier to do them on a course that I have raced before (this one) or plan to race again this year (not this one--I decided I don't like the heat in June for racing that far).

In any case, when I think of running out and back during Easter season in the church, the reading from two weeks ago comes to me. That is the reading along the road to Emmaus.  I have written about Emmaus before.  It is an easy story to think of and one that can have lots of meanings. It is also something that was read at the last wedding I attended in Septmeber 2012.  And it was a wedding of two runners.  And it mentions 7 miles and teh two on the road to Emmaus running back to Jerusalem.  A distance of 7 miles.  A little longer than a half marathon.  A good bit longer than what I ran today.  But definitely something that I think of when I run any out and back.  What do I find when I get there?  How does what I find represent God's goodness and grace revealed to me?  And how much do I want to share it when I get back?

In my case, I am always big on sharing through my blog.  The key question is whether there was any evidence of God's goodness and grace today.  Of course there was.  The bright sun.  The reflection on Lake Montebello.  The good friendship that led to conversation most of the time.  The healthy pace.  The taking of hills.  The running of the lake clockwise--which I have never done before and seeing it all in a new way going to "wrong" direction.  I shared it with my running partner this morning.  I am sharing it with others now.  The out and back also brought us into interaction with other runners.  In fact, one of them was on the track with the large group last Wednesday when I ran.  And the first time I met him was about three years ago in the same season preparing for the Baltimore 10 Miler in 2011 when I was running the course to get a feel for it and he and another runner who were pacing the race were there at the same time.  Apparenetly some patterns never change.  And that is one part of the beauty of the life of a runner. The seasonality of so many things.  The return.  The ability to take a second look and see what may be different.  

And the story of Emmaus goes along somewhat with the theme that Father Sam talked about at 5:30 mass at St. Pius X today.  He focused on setting aside the earthly trappings of success.  White garments without gold.  His uneasiness with the stained glas window with our church's patron showing him with a mace (a sign of worldly power) rather than a cross.  Certainly, my friend this morning and I having both qualified for and run Boston have an eye toward earthly measures of running success.  But each of us also sees running as part of a larger framework of health and wellness and achievement and goal setting in our lives and in the lives of other runners around us.

He also talked about radical change.  While he did not talk about that with respect to Emmaus a few weeks back, it certainly was a radical and life changing experience for the two walkers-turned runners in the Bible.  And running has definitely brought about a radical transformation in my life.  (Friends, activities, blogging, self-image, story telling, etc.)  It is something that can bring about radical transformations for so many.  Some just see running as a chore to stay fit.  For me, it is part of the radical change that all began with running my first marathon and getting number 1313.  

Incidentally, with the 10.4 miles today, I ran 39 this week and am now at 803.9 two days short of 20 weeks into the year.  Thus, I am very much on pace to hit the half way to 2000 mile mark early.  My current position is on Pocahontas Rd in Highlands, IL, a bit north of I-70, and a near a stream that leads to the north end of the Old City Reservoir.   

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