Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Joy of Running

As many arise on this chilly January 1st morning with the best intentions of making good on their New Year resolutions to lose weight and get healthy, I'm reminded of a hot and steamy July morning. Despite the record breaking heat forecast that was expected to reach triple digits in the Nation’s Capital, I met my fraternity brother Trevor Browne (Roo! to Da Bruhz!) for a 13-mile run.  Now, I was accustomed to knocking out four miles every Saturday and Sunday morning–but 13 miles? C’mon Son!

Trevor is about 6’2” and is built like the East Africans who seem to win every marathon they enter.  He runs this 13 mile course every Saturday morning @ 5:30 a.m., rain or shine and has been recently meeting other local Bruhz at Stone Bridge High School during the week to knock out a quick 5K (3.2 miles) early before work. Yes, “iron sharpens iron” out here in Loudoun County, VA and the Sigma Mu Mu chapter of Omega Psi Phi is gettin’ it in! And if truth be told, my main man Trevor is a beast, like John Mugabi! Lightning is the only thing that will keep him from this weekly run. 

In preparation, I loaded up on carbs for energy and ensured I was properly hydrated.  As we began, I quickly noticed that Trevor had plotted a course that included every hill in eastern Loudoun County.  However, we conquered each hill we faced, and about two miles into the run I found “my zone” and embraced it like a long lost friend.  You see, it was just about five months earlier when I first discovered a joy of running that I never imagined possible. For it was while running that I received an anointing to write the words you are reading right now.

Each stride during this amazing run took my mind back to the spring of 1987 when Dalany “GQ” Brown ran four members of the Omega Psi Phi lampados club from midnight to the break of dawn all around the entire campus of Longwood College. Yours truly, Martin Astrop, Stanley Isaac and Charles Gregory (collectively known as “Penitentiary 4”) ran thru charley horses, fatigue, and blinding sweat across the campus the entire night. Thru our sweat-filled eyes, we saw so many folks “creepin” to and from dorm rooms that we could have easily blackmailed at least half the campus for years!

Anyway, two miles into this record-setting a.m. turned into six miles.  Six miles turned into 10 miles and before I knew it we were back where we had started a little more than two hours earlier. At the end of the run, I felt much better than I had imagined. In fact, thoughts of finally running my first marathon (26.2 miles) began to re-enter my mind, because on that day I conquered my first half-marathon! Although there were no starting lines, no finish lines, no hydration stations, and no running bibs. It was simply two men on a mission. A mission completed!

To you, perhaps the thought of pounding out miles may be as appealing as brushing your teeth with a brick. So why run you ask? It’s monotonous, exhausting and can even be painful. Yes, yes, and yes! However, each individual seems to pick up this healthy habit for his or her own reason. Most often, people run to stay in shape or to reach an ideal body weight. One of the things I’ve mentioned time and again is that a combination of diet and exercise is the most effective way to trim down, as it triggers a loss of body fat and an increase of lean muscle tissue. Running can indeed be a rigorous cardiovascular exercise but it allows us to burn an average of 100 calories per each mile we run. Other popular activities, such as biking and walking, only burn a fraction of these calories in the same amount of time. While the average person burns about 2,000-2,500 calories a day by simply existing, running five miles a day can burn an additional 500 calories. That’s a lb of fat gone every week! In addition, we don’t have to belong to a gym in order to burn these calories. Simply invest in a good pair of running shoes and find a safe place to run. And remember...pain is temporary, but quitting lasts forever.

About the Author of "Body, Mind & Spirit: The Awakening": James Hackley is an author, inspirational speaker, and a philanthropist who earned a B.S. degree in Physics from Longwood College and an M.S. degree in Engineering from the University of Virginia.  He's the founder of Omega Consulting Enterprises, chaplain of a local chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, and faithfully attends Holy & Whole Life Changing Ministries International in Lansdowne, Va. His latest book, Body, Mind & Spirit: The Awakening can be purchased by visiting him at www.jameshackley.com , www.Amazon.com, and http://www.barnesandnoble.com.

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