A few years ago the Archdiocese of Cincinnati started an endeavor known as “Run for the Call” as a way to fundraise and support the young men entering college seminary for the archdiocese. Runners and walkers agreed to train and finish a particular distance in the Flying Pig races in early May and it would help our young seminarians by supporting their formation financially. Training with Run for the Call was a key experience that helped me understand how the spiritual life can help motivate a fit lifestyle.
I’d trained and run one half marathon prior to signing up for the Flying Pig Half Marathon with Run for the Call. However, my previous training had started in August and stretched into fall – meaning I could avoid any cold weather training. It had also been an entirely flat course, making it that much more achievable. Neither is true with the Flying Pig races. Training starts in February and the course is known in the running community for its hills and difficulties.
With these obstacles in mind at the start, training could easily have been overwhelming. Below freezing temps, ice, dark morning hours, plain old tiredness – I could think of a myriad of reasons to avoid that 5am wake up call. What got me through those 5am training runs in the below freezing temps was the spiritual link to those seminarians. I would begin to complain about the cold or the early hours, or both, and gently the Holy Spirit would remind me why I was training and it would push me up that next hill or out the door into the cold or rain.
My small sacrifice to train and fundraise seems a pittance in comparison to the sacrifices the seminarians will make in their vocation to the Priesthood someday. So I trained hard – running hills, cross training, and nourishing my body well, while purposefully offering my pain and discomforts for those men.
And I’d like to think it paid off. Temporally, I had a PR by shaving 9 minutes off my previous race time (on a much more difficult course!). Even more important, I trust God blessed those men in their formation because of the efforts and prayers of all the runners and walkers who trained.
By intentionally making my workout into a sacrifice, I not only have a physical good for my body, but also offer a spiritual good for another.
Now, a year and a half later, I still find myself connecting workouts to a particular prayer intention and sacrificing for others thanks to those 10 weeks when every run was motivated by our young men and their vocations. I may not remember to do it every day, but it brings a higher purpose to working out when I do – and for that, I’m grateful.
Author: Jenn at SoulMeetsBodyFitness
Blogger and Beachbody coach at SoulMeetsBodyFitness. I want to share with you my journey of fitness and faith as I discover how intimately the soul and body are connected. It’s my hope that what I’m learning can encourage and spur you on in your own journey to a healthier life – body and soul!