This is Day 20 of our 31 Days of Less and More series. To read all the posts in order, start with Day 1 and check out our overview page to see the topics for the entire month.


Running, to him,  was real.   It was all joy and woe, hard as a diamond; it made him weary beyond comprehension. But it also made him free.”  ~John L. Parker Jr.

Taylor and I headed out on a six mile run a few weekends ago.  I love that boy-a-mine.  And running is something we like to do together when he’s home.  He’s fast, he’s young—I’m slow, I’m old-ish.  He got so far ahead of me that when he finished, he came back and ran the half mile with me.  Now, that’s a good son, right there.  It made me so thankful, that over the years, for all the mistakes I’ve made, he has picked up something from my life that will serve him well.

Three or four mornings a week, I leave my house while it’s still dark, lace up my tennis shoes, crank up my music, put in my headphones, and head out for a date with the pavement. Some days, I can’t wait to get out there and some days, I’d rather stay in the comfort of my cozy house. But, I’ve learned over the years how desperately I need this, more for my heart and soul than anything.

My commitment to exercise is more out of my desperate attempt to preserve sanity than anything else. Running tames my wandering spirit and helps me stay focused in my writing. Running is a way to release the stress of the week as well as a way to renew my energies for my big long to do list. I’ve been running for so long that my runs are like old friends to me. There’s a familiarity in the strike of the pavement and the rhythm of the breathing that I’ve grown to love. But, every single run is hard.

It might get easier, but it never gets easy.

And the hardest part of the run is always the first step out the door.  Leaving home is always the hardest part for me. That’s the part that you have to make as easy and  as automated as possible,  because there are a million obstacles.

I’m too tired.
I don’t have enough time.
I’m so out of shape.
Whoever invented running shorts?
Why even try?
It’s too cold.
It’s too hot.
It’s too humid.
I’m too old.

You recognize those excuses, don’t you?  Well, guess what?  I have a million more.  But, if I can get myself out of the door, I’ve overcome the biggest hurdle and I have never one time regretted doing it.

So, if you still have the capacity to get outside and get some exercise, take advantage of it.  It won’t last forever.  Whether you run or not, I’m a huge advocate of getting some exercise outside if possible. We need the fresh air, the fresh perspective, the sun on our face and it’s good to ask our bodies to work hard. We need it for so many reasons.

Asking my body to do hard things reminds me that I’m weak and undisciplined.  It reminds me that there are so many things in life I have yet to learn.

Running keeps me humble.  It’s so hard and unforgiving sometimes.

But then there are those days—those days when nothing else will do, when the only answer to the struggle of the mental and spiritual battles is to ask my body to do the same.  Blood, sweat, and tears.  It’s not just a good metaphor for life, it is life—with all its valleys and battles, and mountaintops.

For those of you who have never (or not in a long time) done any regular exercise, let me encourage you to start. Just getting out to walk a few times a week would be a great first step. The couch to 5K program would be perfect, if you still have the capacity to run. Whatever you decide, decide to do something. And be thankful you still have the chance.

Just do it.

Day 20 Challenge: For the rest of the month, cut your coffee (or caffeine) consumption by half. Try drinking decaf or tea or even just water instead. Then sometime today, walk or exercise for at least 15 minutes. Consider making a bigger fitness goal, then share it with us on Facebook!


Be sure to read Ruth’s corresponding post, Less Caffeine.


9 comments on “31 Days of Less and More, Day 20 {More Exercise}”

  1. Love this post. My favorite running quote is “The miracle isn’t that I finished, it’s that I had the courage to start at all.”-john bingham. Run on sister.

  2. My second born farm boy (even as I type), likely just crossed the finish line of his first marathon. I observe in him the same rewards and insights you shared in this post. As a young, debt free, full time, pre-med student he understands that the running, though costly, helps keep him from the things in life he doesn’t want. Instead, each strike against the pavement moves him toward and makes more clear for him the value of just getting out the door, putting one foot in front of the other, and progressing toward a difficult but achievable goal. I have the pleasure of watching his character and maturity being forged one run at a time, and can observe him tempering and preparing for what lies ahead. Oh, what a joy grown children can be.

    I am no runner. But, as a fit, strong, hardworkin’ farmgirl, a-to-the-men on the truths this post reveals.


  3. I always loved this quote from Chariots of Fire:
    Eric Liddell: I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.
    I appreciate regular exercise and prefer it to be outside, too. But, when I run, I don’t necessarily feel God’s pleasure. It’s more like how soon I’m going to be in His presence. 🙂 But, I have two aunts -in their 70’s – who walk faster and longer than lots of ladies my age and a dad who really doesn’t like exercise. The difference between them and him, is very obvious to me. It keeps me getting back up and going again. I want to be like those aunts of mine and keeping the pace with grandchildren when I’m their age!

  4. If you need a little motivation or inspiration, consider joining the Facebook group I Run 4 Michael. It pairs runners with special needs children. You dedicate your runs to your match. I received my match a few weeks ago. I am loving it. I ran a half marathon for her today!

  5. I never exercised until a few months before I turned 40. Three years later, I have to run to clear my head and combat anxiety. I’m a ‘slow jogger’ but still …. I’m out there!

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