Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Thursday, January 17, 2013

2 miles today. Is that enough?

Day 17, Janathon. 17 days, 17 workouts, and now the 17th blog post of the month. More than halfway through the month with today's post, halfway through the challenge.

And still going...!

Today was another absolutely beautiful day! I only had two miles planned for the day and, after yesterday's enjoyable experience, I decided to pack running clothes and get them in this afternoon. I am soooooo glad I did.

Shorts and a t-shirt again, and today the temperatures were even higher! It was 53 delightful degrees when I pushed the start button on my Garmin and stepped off for the start of another good run.

I'm not used to running only two miles, but yesterday, today, and tomorrow called for really light workouts. On Tuesday I made a 17-mile tribute run for my daughter, Amanda, on the 2nd anniversary of her murder. That alone wouldn't normally make me cut back on my workouts, but this coming Saturday calls for another special tribute run.

Amanda was murdered only 4 days before her 18the birthday. This coming Saturday she would have turned 20 if she would have survived. So my plan is to run 20 miles that day, one mile for each of the years she should be celebrating on the 19th.

That means I'll have two long runs this week, combining to total 37 miles. My normal routine calls for 40 - 45 miles each week, leaving me only 8 for the other days this week. I used 3 of those on Monday, 2 yesterday, 2 today, and I'll get the other in tomorrow.

If these short runs yesterday and today had you thinking I was slacking off, hopefully that clears things up. Now, on to today's 2 mile run.

There's something about a short run that just won't let me hold back. I'm really trying to focus on maintaining a steady 10-minute pace because I'd really like to average that over an entire marathon at some point in the future. But, running these short distances makes that seem snail-crawling slow.

So today I busted out my first mile at an 8:16 pace. That must have been pushing a little too hard because there wouldn't be a negative split today. I lost 8 seconds in the second mile to clock an 8:24. Altogether, not bad. An average 8:20 pace for the two mile run.

Even at that pace (which is extremely fast for me), it felt great under the blue skies and basking in the balmy temperatures. Another great part about today's pain. And I mean, none! No pain in my knees. No pain in my feet. Not a pain anywhere! It was just a great workout all the way around.

Still, used to running 5 - 6 miles a day minimum, cutting back to 1 - 2 makes me feel like I'm not doing enough. I've actually felt a little guilty to be finished with my workouts in such a short time. But 40 - 45 miles a week is doable. When I've done more in the past, it's seemed to increase the risk of injury.

So I asked myself, is God satisfied with my effort? Am I doing enough in His eyes on these 1 - 2 mile days? Then I found this verse...
"As it is written: 'There is no one righteous, not even one;'" -- Romans 3:10

Heck no I'm not good enough! But nobody is...not even one. That's what the Bible says.

The temptation to try to do "enough" to make God happy is a trap. No matter how much we do, if I ran 100 miles today, it's nowhere near enough to overcome the gap between me and Jesus Christ. And that's what it really is, the temptation I mean. It's a desire to bring ourselves up to God's level. But our very best can't even come close to reaching God's level of goodness.
"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." -- Ephesians 2:10

God gives us tests, opportunities to do what He expects. Through the last two years, He's revealed to me that I need to run 40 - 45 miles per week. Not more. Times I've pushed beyond that have been quickly followed by injury.

I'm becoming convinced that's because my attempts to go beyond what Jesus has called me to do are really more for me than for Him. If 40 - 45 miles is what He's tasked me to complete, why am I trying to go for more? Vanity? Pride?

I think so. In fact, it may even be a kind of seeking justification through works. Trying to get bonus points that will earn me a better place in Heaven or something. But if that's what I'm trying to do, it must mean I'm afraid I won't be satisfied with the place He is preparing for I'm trying to earn something better.
" 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." -- Romans 3:23-24

No. Just like I can't earn my way to Heaven through good works, I can't improve my position by doing "more good" than Jesus asks of me. It is not good works we do for our own benefit that get us into Heaven, or determine our place in Heaven. We can't do enough good to earn anything from Jesus! The gift of salvation is only available through His grace.

We do good works not to be saved, but because we are saved, because we know those works are what He asks us to do. So if we know, if He's revealed, what is expected, we cannot think that doing more or going farther will please Him any more.

If me running 40 - 45 miles per week is good enough for Jesus, I have to let it be good enough for me. So tomorrow will be a one mile run and I'll let you know how that goes. ;)

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

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