Perseverance.  Focus.  Endurance.

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, (2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.)
        Hebrews 12:1-2
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Beautiful. We use beautiful to describe something we like; something that is appealing to us. A beautiful sunset. A beautiful song. A beautiful girl. I looked up the word "beautiful" in the dictionary to clarify.


Beautiful: (adj) having beauty; having qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, or think about; delighting the senses or mind. 


 I recently had a conversation with a good friend about what we consider to be beautiful. When I asked her what she thought, her answer intrigued me. "Beautiful is what you get when you look past the ugly, the pain, and the abnormalities." I've been mulling that thought over in my mind for a few days and finally decided to write a post about it. But this is a running blog, so I've got to somehow tie this in to running, right? No problem. The next thing she said was, "There's beauty in every single thing we see, do, and say." Keep in mind that we're having this conversation during an actual run, so naturally, my mind immediately jumped to running having some correlation to beauty. If you're a runner and think really hard about it, running in itself really is beautiful. Picture this: you're on a long run, let's say 12 miles or so (however long your long runs are). It's a beautiful fall evening--the sun is setting, a cool breeze rustles through the orange and red leaves on the trees, the corn is at it's peak, ready to harvest--you're on mile six and feeling strong, unstoppable. You stop to retie your shoes (or take a breather) and look around you, feeling good about all the ground you covered. But then you look up at the sky and see just how huge the world actually is, and how small your own little corner is. Now let's zoom out a little bit. You see a runner on the road. Let's zoom out even more. You can see the neighboring town, and the runner gets smaller. Zoom out some more. Hey there's Minnesota. A little more. Oh look, the United States. More? There's the entire Earth. Where are you? Where's that runner? It's gone. Because it's too small. You just can't see it anymore. When we compare our logged miles to the insane vastness of the world, we are sadly outnumbered. But it's not sad, it's amazing. Out of 8 billion people on this Earth, here we are, making our way across miles of roads and fields, not even realizing how little we really are. 



Running is beautiful in another aspect, the pain aspect. If you run for a long time, you're likely to feel discomfort at some point. Keep running, and your lungs and muscles burn, and you consider calling it quits. What goes through a runner's mind at this moment is absolutely insane. Our brain jumps from one thing to another, recalling past events, flipping through quotes, going over conversations you had, acknowledging the pain, sifting through memories and experiences, leaping to conclusions, and ultimately deciding whether or not you keep going. That all occurs in a four second time frame. How cool is that? You subconsciously make that decision before you even know you're gonna make that decision. (Psst, God also knows exactly what's going through your head and what you're gonna end up doing, He's cool like that) I hope that you push through the pain. I do. At least I try. That inner battle we fight makes us who we are as runners and as people. Sometimes you want to give in to that other side that's telling you to stop, to give up. But when you push through that--demolishing the mental wall--that's where the beauty shines through. Whether it be emotional or physical, you can always find beauty from pain. 


Sometimes it's not about looking good, or feeling good. Sometimes it's just about looking deeper into something that we all too often disregard. I think we all can agree that from the outside looking in, running looks like it sucks, how on Earth can it be considered beautiful? But from the inside looking out, we as runners see that the act of running is beautiful in its own weird way. Maybe you've never heard of the concept, hopefully I exposed you enough to change your mind. Beauty is everywhere. You covered in sweat and dust, on the other hand, well that's a completely different story. Go shower.


Happy Trails!

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