I remember the day we were asked to run “the mile” in my sophomore gym class. I don’t remember how fast, er, slow, I ran said mile, but I do remember that one of my classmates could not run the mile. This classmate was on the cross country and track teams, so she was certainly a competent runner. The reason she couldn’t run was because she was fasting during Ramadan (if you know that I attended Catholic high school, you might be interested to know that there were two students of the Muslim faith in my class.) She would complete the workout later on that year after the month was over.
As my high school never scheduled us to run the mile on Ash Wednesday, I never had to balance working out and fasting, until I became a little run-crazy in college. Some years I’ve taken my weekly rest day on that day.
This year, I am balancing the two with Workout (Ash) Wednesday, a nod to Flotrack’s weekly videos. I have an article pulled up that same classmate shared on Facebook a few years ago during Ramadan that I’ve thought back to since. While the fast I’m practicing is not as strict as the Ramadan fast, I am keeping in mind some of the guidelines from this article. First, I’m not doing any strength training today. Second, I am splitting up my runs and timing them strategically. I went on a two mile run this morning, right before lunch. I plan to go on another two mile run this afternoon with Nick, right before dinner. This will ensure that we get our post-workout nutrition without breaking our fast.
Some people might say this is a little too obsessive, remarking that my focus should be on the holy day and not my fitness. I would say to them that running is part of my relationship with God. Not every day, but when I take the time to look around me on my runs, I am grateful for God’s gift of Creation. I can look up at the trees, feel the earth beneath my feet, breathe the fresh air (though it’s not so fresh on busy Bardstown Road), and feel grateful for the ability to run. Today, I have a special reflection on God’s Creation. The earth I run over? That’s the earth that God used to create humankind (literally or metaphorically, whichever you believe), the Creation He loves so dearly. At church today, we hear the words, “Remember, you are dust and to dust you will return.”
I’m humbled by these words. I’m humbled by the work it takes to fast from the delicious food in my kitchen, knowing that not everyone has the opportunity to be tempted by this abundance. I’m humbled by the work God put into making me, a tiny part of His Creation.