Yesterday, I ran into my past. I’ve been running into it a lot lately.
The last time I ran regularly was when I was on my mission. That was a long time ago. Like, in the previous century. No. The previous millennia. Okay, 1978.
But last winter, I felt prompted to change that. In fact, I felt that I had to change that if I wanted to prolong my life. I was reluctantly, slowly, and disbelievingly obedient. But what a huge difference it has made.
Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days. (D&C 64:34.)
So I started running again. It dispels stress like the wind scatters the fog. I lost weight and body fat. I got stronger. Freer. More confident. And spiritual.
For me, running is a time to pray and meditate, to think and worship. It has become a holy practice.
So how have I run into my past? First, the physical. I now weigh what I weighed in my 20s. I feel energetic. I feel strong and, best of all, hopeful. Yes, hopeful. Here’s one reason why.
This is what happened yesterday. I ran the Temple to Temple 5K in Provo, Utah, a run from the Provo Temple to the new Provo City Center Temple (still under construction). I ran faster than I imagined possible, besting my last 5K by almost five minutes.
The best thing, though, the very best, was running together with so many members of our extended family. In all, 18 of us ran or walked or strollered the route. It was so great to meet up at the finish line. (I have to give a shout out to my nephew Brandon who ran a smokin’ 17:45, coming in 14th in a field of 7,457. Wow.)
Second, the spiritual. I feel full of urgent possibility. My hope is beaming. I have the power to change and I have changed for the better. I have shaken off high school regrets. I keep bumping into my past, my old limits, my stale self-estimation, and keep making that past better, not stingy with satisfaction as it used to be. I feel cleansed.
Now, when I drive through my neighborhood and see the places I customarily run, my body, like the pooch seeing the squirrel, cries out, “Run? Run?”
I guess I’m into it. I won’t be stopping soon, not if I can help it.
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means . . . I myself should be a castaway. (1 Corinthians 9:24–27.)
I dedicated this race to my brother Mark. He died in 2012. I feel like he has been one of my angels through all this and much more. Thank you, Mark. I know you’re there for me.