Running and Growing

I have run on and off for many years, though never liking it. First, it was a college PE credit. Later in life, a friend wanted to run the Indy Mini race and wanted a training partner (I dropped out after three sessions). More recently, I have been running as a form of exercise. Even though I had already been running a little, when the pandemic hit in March of 2020, I was forced to run for exercise since most, if not all, other options were closed at that time. Interestingly, after running for an entire summer and well into the fall, I began to enjoy running for the experience, not just the health benefits.

At one point, I mentioned my new-found form of exercise to Kevin Rosner. He has encouraged me to keep running and to take on events like the Great North Run (a local fundraiser for Washington Township Schools). Once that was under my belt, Kevin turned his motivation to running the Mini—something he has done for years. I have also had encouragement along the way from fellow FMC runners Erin Rodman and Heidi Boschmann.

Kevin, Joe, and Heidi at the 2022 Indy Mini-Marathon

In the last couple of years, running has become a time to find inner silence, to think and reflect, to create intentional separation from the invasive information age that surrounds us.  It is often a spiritual experience, especially when running for extended periods along the river or canal and witnessing God’s world at work. Running has also become a self-discipline, allowing me to work toward self-improvement where the results are literally measurable in both time and distance. The simple goal is doing better, if only slightly, than the time before… knowing that I will never be one of the best—at the same time being OK with that. Chasing the gains in pace and mileage is a mental goal that drives me as I run.  However, remembering to accept the days when I fall short is just as important.

Over the last year or so, I have started encouraging others to run. My advice to those who ask is to remember there are no winners or losers, just doers. While running definitely helps with physical health, it is also great for many other reasons. Last spring, on a beautiful fresh morning, I completed my first official Mini Marathon…The event asked for social media posts with the hashtag #whyImini. On that spring day, I was joined by Heidi and Kevin. Hopefully, some day, I will be the reason why somebody else “Mini’d.”

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About the author

Joe Longenecker

I currently enjoy running and working out. Some of my favorite memories are spending time with family walking along beaches, exploring the desert, seeing new cities, and enjoying time together. I also like working on home improvement projects.

Picture above was taken with my son Garrett at Joshua Tree National Park in California.

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