I am a runner.

That might sound like a rather simple statement, but it has taken me years to come to grips with this. Even as I write this I have the strange support group feeling about that statement…

“umm… hello. My name is Michael… <ahem> and I’m … I’m a runner.”

For those of you who know me, the first aspect of this title won’t come as any sort of shock or surprise. I am a runner; I run away from the tough, the difficult, the unsettled feeling of inflicted disappointment. I have been characterized as… the one… the only, “the Incredible Disappearing Man!” And while such a billing might lend itself toward a brief comic book career, it only acts as a small light into the unhealthy nature of what I have marketed as a normal “defense mechanism.” But in this quick, quiet retreat that I have perfected over the years, I have betrayed trust, skirted responsibility and growth and have ultimately sidestepped so many opportunities for development of my character and consistency. Its not pretty, but for it change I need to at least be honest about the tendency.

Secondly, and the most straightforward of the interpretations of this simple statement, is that I am a runner. I like running. Call it some sick, delusional affection toward strapping on a pair of shoes and acting like something is chasing me, but I actually enjoy it. I can blame it all on April Dunfee, cross-country runner extraordinaire, who one day in high school invited me to go for a quick run around the neighborhood. Since then I have my favorite paths, my challenging courses and a super-marathon under my belt, and while I don’t think this is really all that strange, I have also realized that it isn’t “normal”.  So while some people are knitters, others are dancers, and still other are gardeners . . . I am a runner.

And finally , the last aspect of “I am a runner”, I have had a very difficult time coming to grips with. So, nearly 2000 years ago a guy named Paul had the audacity to say … “You are a runner.” … well not literally, but essentially.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
1 Corinthians 9:24

You might find it strange, but I am perfectly fine calling myself a Christian, but the idea of actually treating like a runner, especially a runner pushing and straining toward a goal with perseverance has been difficult for me to accept.  If I am honest this hesitation lies in the cross-hairs of my habits of running away from issues and my experiences strapping on the Nikes and hitting the pavement.  I know that running, especially for the long haul, is tough, and I also know that I tend toward giving up, BUT I also know that I am called to “run with endurance the race that is set before [me]” (Heb12:1).

So this is the heart of this blog, the reason why I am writing: if I AM A RUNNER…

What does it look like to run the race well?

I’m not sure… but I sure do want to find out.

  1. Mom/Sally says:

    “This isn’t how it’s done.” I love the story about you, Maria, rain, and picnics…precious. Have you ever seen August Rush? The movie is not my favorite, however, the guitar is played “Erik Mongrain-style.” Those scenes are the best part of the movie. 🙂

    Lovin’ the blog…love the runner.


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