Yesterday I had a scheduled 7 mile run. 7 miles should not be too difficult at this point in my training although any day brings new aches, pains and stiffness. In order to save time, I have taken to plotting a course home from work when time allows, so that was my plan on Wednesday. So I changed and headed down to the street to begin the trek. The music was rocking and my Nike App counted down the start and off I went.
I started out a little fast even though I was a bit stiff. I was not feeling it! I was having a hard time dropping into a steady pace and having a little trouble with my breath control. Running home from downtown during rush hour sometimes offers a challenge to which I am not accustomed … stopping at every corner. I hate stopping, but on this particular day I was welcoming the frequent respites.
As usual, around three miles, I finally loosened up and found a good pace … for a bout a mile. I made wrong turn and had to improvise my route bit, but that is not that unusual when I run in an unfamiliar neighborhood. at about 5 miles the hammer fell. Legs became lead, breathing a bit difficult, stomach queasy and every step was labored. I pushed myself through the last couple of miles and finished completely spent.
What in the world! A 7 mile run should not take that much out of me. It was a little warm and I was well hydrated so why did I have so much trouble? I just ran out of gas … bingo! I was out of fuel! I had skipped breakfast and lunch and really had nothing to burn! I needed to strap on that feed bag.
This is not the first time that I have been dragged down by my lack nutrition. Many times in my athletic endeavors I have stumbled due to a lack of attention to my body’s needs. I have discussed the importance of water before. (We are not Camels – Don’t skip the Watering Hole) Lack of food will not take me down quite as quickly, but it really important. In this case, I was not prepared for the run and started out on empty. In other cases, I was prepared, but due to the length of the run, I depleted everything tank. On long runs, I have noticed that if I don’t refuel every 5 miles or so, I will begin to feel it at around 7 miles.
In my life, I have not always been all that disciplined about strapping on the spiritual feed bag. Even at times when I was reading and praying consistently, I still suffered from malnutrition, especially when facing grueling life battles. I would love to have a dollar for every sermon I have heard that spoke to spiritual disciplines. Read! Pray! Read! Pray! Read! Pray! OK I get it! Question … Does your mind wander when you pray? Does you read whole chapters and not remember anything you read? Maybe it is just me, but that is often the result of my planned out “discipline”. for that matter, I have heard the same basic concept from secular motivational speakers and leadership gurus. “Read to succeed” “A Reader is a Leader” blah, blah, blah.
Before you get offended and start a rant, let me say I think study and prayer are important: But reading for the sake of reading and praying for the sake of praying is just an exercise in futility if the we do not absorb the awesome nutrients that are contained in there. And what about when you are out on the road? How are you going to refuel when you are the race course? (Yeah I know all about praying unceasingly and all that stuff) Here is my point. There is no nutritional value in prayer or reading the bible. No more then there is nutritional value in a plate, a fork, or a feedbag. The nutrition is in the food!
” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life;whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:32-35)“So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” (John 6:53-58)