Surprise, surprise! I haven’t blogged in over a year! So here I am, updating my “About” page yet again. But this time, I won’t make any promises about blogging in the future. The truth is, what I want this blog to be and what it actually is are far from the same thing right now, but I’m just going to have to be patient, put my head down and write, and go with the flow for awhile (something I’m not very good at). What I’ve realized as I attempt to become a consistent writer is that while creativity and inspiration will ebb and flow, my commitment to show up and do the work doesn’t have to. Like everyone I know, I’m a busy human being. A wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a coworker… I need the infinite grace of Jesus to seep into every aspect of who I am, and that is what I hope this blog reflects. So here I go. No promises. No categorizing this blog. No nothing. Just going to do my best to show up, write, and live step-by-step in authentic grace and joy.
I started this blog earlier this year to chronicle my thoughts as I trained for my first marathon. Because of that, it started as primarily a running blog, and below is my story as it relates to running (which is still a good chunk of my story). But now, 6 months later, I wanted to broaden the subject matter a bit for a few reasons. One, I love writing and think it needs to be a consistent habit of mine. Two, I think I’m finally in a place to blog consistently. (Famous last words, I know.) Three, I do absolutely love running, but there is so much more to my life. I want to write about my family, my faith, and my thoughts as I embark on motherhood. My hope is that this blog can encourage other wives, friends, mothers, and runners to live in the awesome grace of Jesus. So…here we go! Onto the next chapter. Thanks for reading.
Original Post (02/14/14)
My name is Allison. I love to run. This is my blog: Steps of Grace.
Running has taught me grace for many reasons, but at the top of the list is this:
It’s the only reason I am still running today. I look at my life and there are things tangible and intangible, from major surgery to stubbornness, that tell me I should’ve ditched running (or running should’ve ditched me) a long time ago. But, here I am. Still taking steps forward. And the only reason for that is God’s gift.
I distinctly remember my first run with my dad. I was 12. The run was a 2 mile loop around our neighborhood and I still remember almost dying afterwords. He went on to run more after dropping my wheezing, exhausted body off at home and I promptly went inside and collapsed on my bedroom floor for at least 30 minutes. But for some reason, when he asked if I wanted to go again the next week, I said yes. Call me crazy, but those moments with my dad sparked a love of running that, honestly, I hope never dies. I hope I’m still running when I’m 90 years old, even if it’s a slow trot. My running continued with track in middle school. (Wish I could dig up some of those pics. There is NOTHING better than scary-race-face-combined-with-awkward-stage photos to look back at for a good laugh. Maybe for another post. 🙂 ) I didn’t run cross country or track my first year of high school. Honestly, I didn’t even know what cross country was! HA. But I made some really good friends on my swim team who happened to run on the XC team, and they convinced me to try it my sophomore year. I surprised myself by qualifying for state, and that lit the competitive fire under me for the rest of high school.
It was somewhere between junior and senior year, when I started posting some decent times on the track, that I though maybe, just maybe, I would want to continue running in college. And the Lord blessed me with an opportunity to run for CSU. I have no words for that freshman year of collegiate athletics. I LOVED EVERY MINUTE. Honestly. It was amazing. I came from a high school that hardly had a program, so we never scored as a team during XC. Running for a team in college made me realize what a TEAM sport running really is. Even on the track, your performance matters to everyone else. There’s camaraderie and sisterhood. It was a beautiful experience. We had a record breaking XC season, and I ended up winning the 5000 meter run at our indoor conference meet. I then ran a 5k PR of 16:52.1 outdoors, missing qualifying for regionals by a tenth of a second. DRAMA. The workouts, my teammates, my coach; they all made it incredible. But there was one, nagging thing. My back. It was in pain. I took a redshirt season for outdoor track to try and heal up. Then ran a miserable 2nd year for CSU. My coaches gave me so much grace.I don’t know why they kept me around, but they did. And I’m forever grateful. Through XC, Indoor Track, and Outdoor Track, I never felt like the runner I was just a year before, and PR’s were a distant memory. After finishing the 10k at outdoor conference, I felt put out emotionally and physically. I was pulled from the 5k the next day to spare my body. And to save you all the details (and an incredibly long post) I’ll just say that one thing led to another and I ended up needing surgery to repair a bone abnormality in my lower spine: the cause of the pain for the last 2 years that was now radiating down my left side.
Surgery and recovery. Those were LONG. I learned a lot about myself and my identity- found in Christ, not in what I do or any of my achievements, running or otherwise. It was/is a humbling road. But every single day I’m thankful for the healing in my body and my spirit. I’m thankful I can walk, and now run without nagging pain. I’m thankful for so many people God has put in my life (from informative and compassionate doctors to friends, teammates, and family) who have encouraged me to pursue health, recovery, and running again.
So here I am, doing my best to run for more than myself. Running because it’s a gift I’ve been given, and for as long as I can I want to use it to its best. This is my story of a lifetime of running towards Jesus.