On this cool, Mississippi morning, Jim and I woke up to our first “snow day” in Laurel. I hesitate to use that phrase “snow day” because we hardly had a dusting, but businesses closed yesterday and many all day today in anticipation of the pending snow. So, it feels like a snow day, just without the snow! Welcome to the deep south, I suppose! Anyway, our day began with fresh coffee, Benny Goodman tunes, and bacon-cheddar-chive muffins to celebrate.
After our relaxing morning, we hit the routine of our normal, Saturday activities – organizing, cleaning, laundry, the usual. But one thing I now look forward to every day is using my Christmas present from Jim this past year – my new treadmill. Mhmmm, a treadmill. It’s technically used, but new to me. I know all of you “dreadmill” folks out there who despise this machine. But Jim knows I’ve used them all throughout college if I wasn’t trail running, and I love them because you can run when you want, no matter what time of day, in a comfortable environment. (Side note: I’ll admit it, Jim completely shocked me this year when he surprised me with one, because I put it on my Christmas list somewhat as a joke. Let’s be real, they can be pricey and who on earth would actually buy me one!? Jim, of course. He found a good deal, used a friend’s car to pick it up, and got it up the two flights of stairs in our loft with some help, ALL without me finding out). Anyway, I’m incredibly excited to make running a regular activity again, because running is my biggest de-stressor and has been for the past six years. I love the community running builds, but I also love knowing this habit is a healthy way to build relationships while keeping in shape physically.
Having that said, Jim and I decided to begin training for another half marathon. Yes, we enjoy the level of fitness one has to achieve to be able to run one of these races well, but more importantly, running helps us cultivate relationships. When my dad and I began training for our first half marathon back in the summer of 2013, we spent early mornings out training in Virginia, setting new records for ourselves, and feeling a sense of camraderie. Running together taught us to be intentional, especially when I went back to college and we continued training together long distance.
I’m not typically a huge new year’s resolution person. Not because I don’t like goals, I definitely do. But whenever I decide to pursue something, I don’t wait for a new year to roll around, I typically just begin it right then and there. That sounds icky now that I type that because it makes me think of that dreaded phrase “instant gratification,” but I think it’s ok to start healthy, cultivating goals sooner rather than later. Not only that, but I typically find my goals aren’t specifically for the new year, but every year. They’re habits I want to create and cultivate. And they aren’t necessarily all that “impressive” either. Healthier relationships, to work diligently, to honor God with my words, to spend more time in prayer, to cook more dinners for my little family. I break this down into practical, achievable ways, of course, but if I’m honest with myself, most of my goals are the same from year to year. It’s more of a life-long pursuit. Growth, cultivation, maintaining, thriving, you get the picture. They don’t feel like big, lofty goals, but these goals are what are important to us.
As much as I enjoy the treadmill, I’ll still be doing a lot of outdoor running, too. I enjoy the scenery and running outdoors is just tougher overall, so I’ll need it to better prepare. This go around, Jim, dad and I will be running the Chattanooga 4 Bridges Half Marathon again together. This will be mine and my dad’s second half marathon, and Jim’s third. Other family members may join, but to my knowledge, we’re the only three who have committed thus far. It’s given me a sense of togetherness even though dad is over 700 miles away, and it gives us something to talk about almost daily. We can cheer when one another makes progress, and encourage when someone is feeling defeated. Here’s to continually cultivating healthy relationships, and remaining intentional in the mundane.