Tag Archives: pain

Get Your Motor Running

tired-runnerYou’ve probably had the experience: You set out on a longish run. Let’s say you’re going five miles. You know you can do five miles. Five miles is a piece of cake. (And by the way, if you’re thinking that five miles is more like a sledgehammer than a piece of cake, you can get there eventually.) You could do five miles without breaking a sweat. (Okay, maybe not that.)

But then, 100 yards into your five miles, you feel as if you are going to die. Your lungs are heaving; your heart is pounding. Your legs are saying, “No!” Everyone who has ever run has experienced this. To a degree, we will get the same feeling when starting out on a bike, playing basketball, or doing anything else that pushes the body very hard. Happily, this feeling of impending death does not last. If you push through it, you’ll find yourself a mile and half down the road saying, “Hey, this is pretty easy. Five miles is a piece of cake!”

Jason Saltmarsh takes up this topic in a recent article, artfully titled, “Why does the first mile of my run suck so much?” Not only does Saltmarsh explain the physiology leading to those first-mile agonies but he offers advice as to how to lessen the blow.

Basically, what’s happening is you’re forcing your engine to work (aerobic state) before it’s had a chance to properly warm up (anaerobic state). I bought a Subaru a few months ago, and now I sit patiently in my car and wait for the little blue light on the dashboard to go off before leaving home. That little blue light goes off when the car is warmed up, the fluids are moving around nicely, and it’s ready to go.

Like so many things, that physical warm-up has a spiritual parallel. Have you ever had a hard time settling in to pray or to read the Bible? At first it seems hard. No, your legs aren’t complaining, but your brain might be saying, “You have other things to do.”

A few years ago, I attended a prayer retreat. During Saturday morning, the schedule called for an hour of solitary prayer. An hour. How was I supposed to prayer for an hour. I fidgeted. I shifted. I got distracted. I was in my first mile. But then I hit my stride. The “blue light” went off, and I prayed. When the hour expired, it was too soon.

The beauty of both running and spiritual disciplines is when you get past that initial warm-up period. When we get there, prayer seems like something that could go on forever. The Bible is something to linger within. And the miles don’t seem endless.

Suffering Makes Perfect (Hebrews 2:10)

In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. (Hebrews 2:10)

I suffered this weekend. Actually, the suffering started on Tuesday and ended on Saturday. On Tuesday, I noticed that problem with my truck’s wheel–you know, the lug nuts about to come off releasing the front-left wheel into the wild. Replacing the lug studs–the bolts that you screw lug nuts onto–proved more difficult than I would have expected.

First, I had to get the axle nut off. Before this week, I had no idea what an axle nut was, but I learned. Then I realized that I didn’t have a socket, wrench, or other grabbing device large enough to fit on the axle nut. I managed to procure the proper socket. Then I pushed and pulled on the ratchet with all of my might. I tried standing on the bar. No good. Eventually, as the sun beat down on my, I thought to use my jack to turn the ratchet. Amazingly, that worked.I suffered monetarily when I bought eight new studs and nuts.

Still, my ordeal had not ended. I had to remove the old, stripped out studs. I had to get the new ones in place. None of this happened easily. All the while, the sun was hot on my back and head. Eventually, I mounted the wheel and turned those new nuts as hard as I could. I drove the truck and tightened them some more. My plan is to keep tightening them after each drive until they don’t budge. So you can see that I suffered.

But my suffering was of my own making. My suffering was well deserved. What Jesus suffered in 33 years of life and 18 hours of outright abuse, was not deserved in the least. As I sweat and fret through this life of mine, I need to remember that pioneer of my salvation. He was perfect already, before his birth, yet he was made perfect as my salvation–and yours–through his suffering. That ought to get me through my next flat tire.