Running has always been far more than just running to me.
In 2000 after several years of struggling with runner’s knee I eventually stopped altogether. I had tried everything (you can read more about it under the About Us page), nothing I did got rid of the injury and eventually I gave into the acceptance that I simply wasn’t meant to run and that my knee’s where bad. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
Running has always been more than just putting on a pair of running shorts and shoes and heading out the door. To me, running is a spiritual discipline. Running has a way of clearing my mind and opening my ears and enabling me to connect in a deeper way to God.
I recall a few months back running along one of the main streets in Brackenhurst struggling with an inner battle when suddenly and out of the blue I was overwhelmed with emotion. In that moment as I ran along the side of the road with tears streaming down my face I knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that God loves me. These were not tears of sorrow these were tears brought on by knowing that no matter what God loves me. This lasted for a few minutes and as I turned left and carried on running with the burden of my inner struggle lifted I knew that God had connected with me in a very real and very personal manner.
It’s for this reason, this connecting with God while out on a run that I prefer to run without music. Music becomes an irritant within me. No, when I run it’s simply me as I am with my God along for an amazing journey.
In September/October last year I was diagnosed with anaemia. At rock bottom I struggled to drag myself on an easy run of 30-40 minutes. Hills were simply out of the question and I had this feeling like my lungs were constricted, like someone was sitting on my chest. I put this down to the anaemia and with time and good healthy eating this feeling improved. I can’t say it went completely as it would reoccur from time to time.
About 4 weeks back this constricted feeling was back and on the Friday evening I said to Cindy (my wife) that I’d have to go back for more blood work. I felt like I was back to square one. Anyway, the next morning I get up and attempt to do my run as planned which consisted of 20 minutes easy to warm up followed by 2 sets of 20 minute tempo reps at marathon race pace. The 20 minute warm up went fine but the moment I started the first rep I was struggling and this was by no means a pace I wasn’t used to.
About 10 minutes into the first rep I stop dead in my tracks and in shear desperation I cry out, praying to God in all earnest, “Lord, what’s going on with me? Please Lord, show me what this is.” And I begin to walk and then start jogging and the next thing one word pops into my mind, “peanuts.” “Peanuts?” I think to myself as I run along now quite slowly. “Peanuts?” I have no idea what this means but I now want to finish this run so that I can get back to my laptop and google.
I abandon my planned run and end up running an easy 80mins. I get home and immediately I go and sit at my computer and in google I type the words “peanut allergy” and click on the first page that comes up. Under symptoms I read the following, “Symptoms of peanut allergy are related to the action of Immunoglobulin E (IgE) and other anaphylatoxins, which act to release histamine and other mediator substances from mast cells (degranulation). In addition to other effects, histamine induces vasodilation of arterioles and constriction of bronchioles in the lungs, also known as bronchospasm (constriction of the airways).”
I couldn’t believe it! These symptoms perfectly described the exact feeling I was experiencing, “constriction of the airways.” I love peanuts and peanut butter but in build up to this moment I had increased the amount of peanut butter I was eating, snacking on spoonful’s between meals at the office and after supper at night.
I immediately cut out all forms of peanuts and within a few days that constricted feeling in my chest disappeared. Once again, God had spoken to me, had connected with me during a run.
Like I said, running is far more than running to me, it’s a spiritual disciple, a prayer time, a quiet time, a time to connect with God and to allow Him to work in me and to change me.
I am grateful for the experiences God gives me, I am grateful for the ability to run and above all I am grateful that despite how imperfect I am, I am able to know our amazing God.
– Ray Orchison