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Meaningful Runs – A Blog by Trainer Dan Van Veen

Sometimes we can all get caught up in the routine of running. We get to the point that it becomes something we do without much thought. “Yeah, gonna go get a quick 5 miles in this morning,” or “Long-run Saturday; see you in a few hours.” We all sometimes forget to appreciate the fact that what we are doing – running – is something most people can’t quite wrap their minds around.

Now, sure, there are people out there who do things that physically I can’t imagine doing, for example, an ultra marathon of 100 miles. I can’t even imagine. And when you’re in the midst of several thousand others preparing for a race to start, what you’re doing doesn’t seem all that unique. But just like I can’t imagine pulling off a 100-mile ultra, trust me, there are millions of people who can’t imagine heading out the door to do a “quick 5″ . . . or 3 or even 1. What you do when you lace up your shoes and head out the door is special – it’s a gift to be appreciated and experienced. : )

So, this past weekend, I ran in my first longer race in quite some time. It was a half-marathon. Last year at this time, I was just getting out of the hospital due to blood clots in my lung and legs (hereditary deal). There were times when I wasn’t sure I was going to see the next day much less ever run again. It was a long recovery time for me, it seemed. But as I recovered, I was determined to run a half-marathon this fall in recognition of returned health and thankfulness for simply being able to run . . . what I see as a true gift from God.

Question: Does a “gift from God” mean that I was expecting to drop a PR or be divinely touched in a way that made me an elite runner? Not at all. Funny how it is, but think about what Christmas gift has meant the most to you. Typically it’s not the biggest, the most expensive, latest gadget, etc. . . . it’s the gift that was given to you with love. My daughters drew me a Christmas card one year for Christmas, expressing their love for me . . . nothing they could have bought would have meant near what that card meant/means to me. So, God allowed the gift of running back into my life . . . it wasn’t the fastest, the strongest, the best, but it was a gift of love and it meant a lot to me.

It meant even more when at the beginning of this October I ended up with an intestinal infection that dropped me for 10 days. Took me a week to even feel strong enough to THINK about running. The doctor told me expect it to take two months to fully recover and she laughed when I mentioned running the half-marathon on Nov. 1. But on Nov. 1, I was out there and I focused on running relaxed . . . and 2:05 later, I crossed the finish line. Fast? Relatively no . . . probably my slowest half ever. But it was SO rewarding. What a gift!!

Following the race, I headed home, showered, and I was able to make it to church by 10:30 a.m. to teach children, K-5, about what missionaries are doing to help kids just like them in Honduras (this month’s focus nation). You know, you don’t have to look far to find people, kids, who are living lives of poverty that we can’t imagine. But you know, that’s pretty much what Marathon Mission is all about – helping those who need our help. And maybe you’ve been frustrated because you can’t seem to raise a lot of money yourself for a cause, but perhaps simply by being a crusader for a cause, you can bring awareness . . . and awareness can start the cycle of change. : )

Well, I know this is a little bit different of message, but hey, if you’re thankful for something but you never really say you’re thankful for something, are you truly thankful?


Have an awesome run today!

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