January 18, 2010

Sweating…and Liking It

I’ve been away for a while. Not away physically, but taking a break. Going within. Venturing out. Connecting with friends. Wrestling with faith. Searching…and to a small degree finding.

Old issues. New questions. A never-ending quest. And through it all God remains the same, regardless of how assured or shaky my point of view. The more I learn, the more I see how little I really know.

But I do know that today seems to be the day that I’ll start to write again. And that’s a good thing.

This spring Dan and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage. Not a huge milestone, but one we’re proud of. To mark the occasion we’ve planned something special. Something for which I need to be in shape. There was a day—not that long ago—when I was in darn good shape. When I used words like “heart rate” and “cadence” and “hill climb” in the same sentence.  When I had gear and a training schedule and a “team.” That day is not today.

While I regularly take long walks with my dog, I honestly haven’t broken a sweat during a workout for a looooong time! My gym membership has become a donation. (Too bad the gym isn’t a charity.)

It’s not that I don’t like to workout (really), it’s that I’ve lost the habit. First to playing tennis and then to creeping laziness. Now the inertia keeps me firmly planted. In the battle between stasis and momentum, the former won hands down.

But the trip Dan and I have planned has given me motivation and a goal to work toward. So, last week for the first time in over a year (or two), I got back on my road bike and went for a spin (albeit on rollers in my basement). As expected it hurt. My legs hurt, my heart hurt and my butt hurt (that bike seat is hard!). But with my iPod blaring my favorite Christian tunes, the music carried me along.

I warmed up to Bethany Dillon.
Road the flats with Kirk Franklin, Bebo Norman and Casting Crowns.
Cranked up hills with Third Day and David Crowder.
And cooled down with Chris Tomlin.

Sweat dripped down my brow and off the tip of my nose. It drenched my shirt and ran down my calves. The blood flowed as I used long untapped muscles. I dug for endurance where I wasn’t sure I’d find any. The adrenaline surge reminded me of how much I enjoy this. And most of all, focused solely on the music, long-familiar songs spoke to my spirit in new ways. My workout became an amazing time of worship. And a sweaty, out-of-breath prayer.

The words of Psalm 139 rang in my head, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (v. 14) What miraculous creations we are. And how glorious to offer that which God created, our bodies, back to Him in thanksgiving and praise—no matter what our abilities or fitness level.

While one exercise session, no matter how inspiring, can't solve all that weighs me down, I thank God for blessing me with His presence and pray for His spirit to motivate and sustain me through the next 85 (or so). I’ll keep you posted.

We are wonderfully made, indeed.

Gotta’ run. Even more exciting than a motivating workout is the new season of 24, which starts NOW. That is definitely something that gets my blood pumping!


Terri Tiffany said...

Twenty years is a milestone for sure! It is motivating to me to hear you want to get back into shape now. I have been pushing myself too since my husband is taking Health in college now and fitness and we are determined to not let our bodies get so out of shape as we age. I too broke a sweat the other day during a long walk around the lake. Loved it!

Amber Ford said...

I too am embracing all that God has created my body to do and be. I have asked Him what my God-given size should be and I am committed to honoring Him with my body this year and getting to the fitness level and size He intended for me. I also want my husband to be blessed when he looks at me. So I decided to "walk" from Texas to Oregon before the end of the year!
And I am becoming addicted to the sweat and the praise session it becomes each and every time. :-)

k80 @ onegirlsjourney said...

Congrats!!! 20 yrs is DEFINITELY a HUGE accomplishment! Good for you for the work-out also! I feel the same when I haven't done it for a while - and it too is a great time of worship! Awesome that God made our bodies to feel GOOD after that kind of exertion! Minus the pain, of course! Congrats again!

Jody Hedlund said...

That's great that you had a hiatus from writing but are getting going again. I think maybe your body needed a break from the working out too? Not sure, but we all have those seasons, and now God's gearing you up again for something new and exciting!

Sassy Granny ... said...

20 years? Wow ... anything beyond one year is a huge milestone by today's standards! Congratulations.

My exercise regimen entails long walks with 5 lb weights. Not terribly exciting, but I always feel so invigorated & healthy when I return.

So glad to "see" you again, friend.


elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I am never closer to God than when I'm outdoors running and worshiping him via the tunes on my IPOD. Truly, he speaks to me there in a way I haven't found anywhere else.

Feels good to sweat, does it not?


Kelly Combs said...

I've gained weight and am so trying to get motivated by exercise. And failing. I don't own an mp3 player, perhaps I should invest in one and fill it with inspiration tunes.

God always inspires, doesn't he? In every area of life. Amen!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

My twentieth anniversary comes in August. Congratulations to you and hubby!

I need to get back to working out too. You're right, it helps spiritually too.

Justin said...

I almost invariably run with my iPod, listening to a wide variety of music -- classical to classic rock to hip-hop to Broadway musicals.

But for whatever reason, my best runs are ALWAYS with praise and worship music!

Thanks for being you, Kelli! And very happy anniversary! :)

Cheryl Barker said...

Now you've got me curious as to what you guys have planned for your 20th that requires you to be in shape :) You'll have to tell us more of the story sometime. Good luck keeping up your work-out regime and have a great week!

Carmen said...

Congratulations on 20 years Kelli! It sure is a milestone, and one worth celebrating! I only sweat because I'm 50 something...but I hope to start walking again soon! :)

Sue J. said...

Our 20th is in October.... It's HUGE! (And we have no exciting trip plans. We had talked about celebrating in our honeymoon spot in Vancouver for the Olympics. Recession kind of brought that idea to a halt.)

My husband just asked me if I still used my bicycle helmet. It's embarrassing that I'm not cycling or rollerblading. My whole neighborhood seems to walk; I drive by them....Slave to the stairs and the paint ladder--that's not saying much.

So, I'm trying to say that you are doing a great thing for yourself. And God is reaching out to you through your workouts. Having the goal certainly helps. (My family wanting the family room back does get the paint can open again!) But you will probably find that it becomes habit once again, and that will keep you on the road!

Runner Mom said...

Congrats on the big 20!! Craig and I also celebrate 20 this March!! I can't believe that it's been that long! Not sure what we're doing yet. Would LOVE to hear your plans!! I'm proud of you for hitting the bike! Craig is loving his trainer that he got for Christmas...that's the only way he's getting in the miles right now.

I truly know where you're coming from with the desire to get back into it. I tried to put my focus on other things rather than long distance running for awhile, and it worked! Now, my girlfriend group is planning a big marathon trip, and my pitiful 6 miler today was so slow! But, it will come! God is faithful, and the desire will hit home. I know it will for you too. The music really helps!Keep it up, chickadee!! Call me sometime...would love to really catch up!

3 Blessings said...

Checking out my fellow Exemplify Writer Friends' blogs. I am totally old school too...I only have a blog. No time for anything else :)
I look forward to following your blog.

Irritable Mother said...

LOL at the 24 comment!
Good for you for getting back on the bike, Kelli. My husband owns a personal training studio, so workouts have been pretty regular for me for the past 2+ years. But it's just been in the past month that my trainer has finally convinced me to do regular cardio, too. I'm telling you, entering the data and seeing how many calories I burned in 30 minutes really motivates me.
Looking forward to hearing about your progress in this venture!