Cross country coaches know the importance of the three words June, July, and August also known as summer running (why hasn't anyone done a parody on this with the hit from "Grease," yet).
Those coaches who are smart, lucky or both are able to take their team to (ideally) a rural location for three to five days for a running retreat—a euphemism for two-a days in locations so beautiful that your runners complain much less about the demanding trails, workouts, hill repeats and mileage. The days are short, the runs are long. The experience—the struggle, the exhaustion, the runners' highs and lows—it's real. However, this time away and yet together, pays dividends when runners must dig deep...when the state championship is on the line, or a runner stands at that line. A running camp that also serves as a retreat shapes makes its possible for individual runners to compete with one another, instead of against each other.
Because this time is sacred, it ought to account for something more than an impressive running log. Teams can pray together, a coach can lead guided meditations. One or two runs can be taken in silence and by way of suggestion: take a run listening to this very podcast. Runners will have the chance to plug in and learn from adult runners, who are thoughtful, articulate, wise, some religious, many spiritual and honest.
Each respondent offers insights from their own unique and diverse experiences. Though I could not relate to every story, I appreciated learning more about the people with whom I might share the road. And among those who offered ideas similar to the one I have, I gained a better sense of self...something Thomas Merton would approve, for the introduction of the podcast reveals his words.
"It is true that we are called to create a better world. But we are first of all called to a more immediate and exalted task: that of creating our own lives."Running helped me create my own life in ways I never could have imagined. Perhaps you understand.
- Running as a passionate force in our lives and a powerful connector across all kinds of boundaries in American culture.
- Running as not just a form of exercise or as a merely physical pursuit.
- Running as a source of bonding between parents, children and friends.
- Running as an interplay between competition and contemplation.
- Running, and body image and survival.
CHRISTINA TORRES minute 3:45
- Running is a moving meditation. What does that mean?
- What stereotypes has running shattered for you?
- What has running taught you about your body?
- In order to finish the LA Marathon, Torres took the advice given to her when she hit the wall: find a mantra in your head and say it over and over. Her mantra became I am strong, I am powerful, I can do this. Do you have one?
JOHN CARY minute 8
- What is your ideal running? Alone? With a group? With a partner?
- Have you had some great conversations with other runners? What is it about running that allows this to occur?
- What senses awaken when you run?
ASHLEY HICKS minute 12
- Don’t run with music, headphones…”I call myself a true minimalist runner.” What does that mean to you?
- Hicks noticed there were very few people of color at road races in her community. Who might be underrepresented on your team?
- How has running help you become more spiritual—Has it?
- The best thing for you to remember is that: The blessing is outside of your comfort zone. Meditate on this.
- If you stay with what you’re comfortable with, you’ll never experience something new and incredible. What have you done that has taken you outside of your comfort zone, recently?
- Joslin shares that running was a distraction from the pain I was feeling. He said, “I ran to feel different…to escape from the pain.” What does running allow you to escape from?
MIKE STAVLUND minute 19
- Learned about meditation through running instead of learning about meditation through reading about meditation. Do you consider running a form of meditation?
- Stvavlund describes the Instrumental and Inherent goods of running. Which one do you value more? Explain.
SARAH KASAWINAH minute 25
- Kasawinah states that "My faith improves my running and running improves my faith." Can you relate?
- When I’m running I’m actively expressing that gratitude. How?
- Kasawinah also shares that, "A run feels truly spiritual after that first hour. There’s a period in between when I’m thinking of nothing, I’m receiving what is around me." How is this an example of spirituality? Is it?
- Many people claim that runners are running away from something, but Tanori always viewed herself as running toward her mom. Which perspective do you hold?
- What have you run away from?
- What have you run to?
- Tenore found that training for a marathon was her way of staying strong and remaining healthy. In fact, running was positive as it helped her let go of perfectionism. Do you struggle with perfectionism?
- Who gave you the gift of running?
SIMRAN JEET SINGH Minute 34
- How can running be service? Community service?
- What is the most unexpected way that running has formed you?
- Singh states that running is responsible for the "shaping of my discipline. Engaging in something every single day—a ritual shapes someone." What personal and spiritual disciplines do you have/hold?
- Running has contributed to my ethical formation? How? Is this true for you?
CHRISTY MARVIN Minute 37
- Marvin has made "faith and prayer into an extreme sport." She said, "my running time is my alone time….time to rejuvenate mind and body. I get a runner's high AND a spiritual high." Respond.
- Do you have any power verses....passages of scripture or a holy text that you look at before you run?