For as long as I can remember, I’ve been making a bucket list. “Skydive. Read 12 books in a year. Visit Times Square for NYE. Run a mile a day for a year.” I remember putting that last one on there and thinking to myself “Every day for an entire year? There’s no way I’ll actually complete that”. Growing up, I participated in both soccer and track but still didn’t consider myself a “runner” because that implied it was something I enjoyed and I definitely did not. I ran because it was the sport. But this past year, that changed. In late 2019, one of my good friends, Logan DeRosier, and I were going through each other’s bucket lists seeing what we could help each other cross off. He saw the item on my list, looked up at me, and said “We’re doing this together. 2020.” When I realized he was serious, doubt set in. I felt hesitant to even try, but decided I might as well. I didn’t have anything to lose. If I failed and didn’t make it through the entire year, I could at least consider it some good, heart-healthy, exercise.
Fast forward to January 2020, I, like the rest of the world, had no idea what was in store. This year was so many different things to different people. For some, it was the hardest year of their lives. For others, it was a chance to be home and slow down. It was a year of pain, change, and chaos. While I will always remember that, I’ll also remember that it was my year of strength. I came to realize running not only required physical strength, but more mental strength than I could’ve imagined. Every single day, no matter the weather, the time, or the place, it all started with lacing up my running shoes. I’ll be real, there were so many days where I was tired, sick, sleepy, or just really not in the mood to run. But I did it anyway. And at the end of the day, the sense of accomplishment was well worth it.
What was once just a bucket list item turned into a wonderful adventure. Wherever this year took me, I took my running shoes. I ran countless miles all over Texas. I ran in the 100% humidity that is an Arkansas summer. I ran on the beach in Florida. I ran in the rain of Seattle and in the dry heat of Scottsdale. I ran in Nashville, in Charleston, and I even feel lucky to say I was able to run internationally considering prior to COVID-19, we visited family in Chihuahua, Mexico. I got to run with friends, family, and even people I had just met (Lookin’ at you, Charles and Hope). Some took more convincing than others, but I thank each person that ran with me. It meant more than you know.
I will never forget running that last mile on New Years Eve. It was a rainy, windy, freezing day in Searcy, Arkansas. I ran my last mile around my childhood home. The home I had run around countless times before. But this one was different. I put on my running shoes and thanked my sweet Jesus for a body that allowed me to run. A few minutes into my mile, tears started running down my face with joy for all I’d learned during this year. I learned discipline, confidence, determination, and that no matter how big a goal may seem, you can do it. Like we’re told in Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.