Running is a funny sport, with a multitude of funny words.
The Jack Daniels Method.
But the term we often got the most giggles about in high school track and cross country was LSD— long, slow distance.
While many people equate the acronym with a hallucinogenic drug, runners use an LSD as a different kind of high. I had the chance to run a 9-mile long run with some fantastic running buddies last night as we prepare for a December half-marathon, and during the run, I realized that there are a lot of life lessons to be learned in the LSD! I’ll try and unpack my ramblings as well as I can for you…
Warning: Attempt at a possibly over-reaching metaphor ahead. Feel free to disagree, dismiss, or shoot holes in my thoughts. Or love it– that’s always an option, too. 😉
1. In an LSD, you cannot go out too fast. In fact, that’s the whole point. Long runs require a pace that is often slower than you are used to running, and can feel uncomfortably slow sometimes. But at least when I slow it down, stop focusing so much on getting to the end as quickly as possible, I begin to see things. I notice trees, houses, the beauty of the clouds in the sky, or a setting sun because rain washed out our typical Saturday morning run.
I think I typically live my life like a sprinter, trying to fire all my fast twitch muscles to propel me to the next BIG life event as quickly as possible. But, I am finding in this journey to find adventure and to explore where I am, that taking a long run mentality with my last few months here in Ocala is allowing me to see and enjoy so much more!
2. Long runs are building you up for something bigger and greater. Last night, both of my running buddies completed their longest runs EVER with our nine miler. While that is such a great accomplishment and I am so inspired by them, the truth remains that our race will be 13.1 miles. We’ve still got building to do, more long runs to conquer, then the ultimate long run on race day! Their race experience is not necessarily defined by their long runs thus far, but they are instrumental in preparing them for the big day.
So often, we experience things in our lives that feel long, slow, drawn out, difficult, and never-ending. But the truth is, I firmly believe that everything we experience is preparing us for something bigger, greater, and harder. And the more we are able to tune in, focus, and tackle those long runs with perseverance? The better capable we will be to dominate our races, and whatever other “bigger, greater, harder” life experiences that are thrown at us!
3. Sometimes on a long run, you trip over nothing in particular. (Okay– this one is not a metaphor, it actually happened, haha!) We were running down a sidewalk (note: a sidewalk. Not an uneven, rooty trail or even poorly paved road) and before I knew it, I was flailing through the air and did a crazy little roll on the ground and hopped back up mid-stride. It hurt a teeny bit, but mainly it surprised me and got a good laugh out of us once everyone knew I was fine! I told myself that the best thing I could do was to settle back in, lower my heart rate, and keep running at the pace we had been holding.
Part of me wanted to stop, part of me wanted to take off with all the new adrenaline I had, and part of me wanted to run straight home and have my mom kiss my boo-boo. But just like in life, sometimes things trip us up. and the times it has worked out best have been when I dusted myself off, kept moving, and settled back in to my goal. I will admit sometimes goals need to be assessed and changed if it’s a big trip up, but with this little stumble I just needed to settle back in.
What stimulated a lot of my thoughts about the LSD’s parallels with our lives is this verse that was presented in a church I visited on Sunday. Hebrews 12:1-2 is one of my all time favorite verses and it reads:
“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.”
I resonate with any Bible verse that mentions a running/racing/physical training metaphor, but this one carries so much weight because of its emphasis on perseverance and joy. We are not just called to finish the race, we are told to run it with perseverance. To take each stride in our long run or in our life with an attitude of steadfastness, to continue trying despite the difficulty or a delay in achieving our success.
When explaining this verse, the pastor made a beautiful point that the Bible doesn’t tell us our race distance. Is our life a 100m dash? A sprint to the finish in as quickly as we can? Is it a mile? A longer effort, but short and fast nonetheless? Or is it a marathon or even an ultra-marathon? Long, challenging, unpredictable, and focused on keeping a steady pace you can maintain? We’ll never know how long our race of life is planned to be, but we can choose to run it with perseverance, and to remember that with perseverance comes character, and from character comes hope and joy (Romans 5:4).
Thanks for listening! Just some rambles acquired during a recent LSD (including an LSD trip…haha get it? Because I tripped during my LSD? Too far? Haha, corny Kaitlin out).
Have a wonderful Monday!