THE LONG RUN Turns out, there was room the whole time.
“The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God”
– C. S. Lewis
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone!
After a short break, the Long Run is back and with it a few thoughts on the start of our new year.
For those of you who may be unaware – I love the Christmas season. From the decorations, to the songs, from seasonal food to all the liturgical comings and goings, the Christmas season and Advent before it, is simply one of my favorite moments of the year. Of course, it all culminates at the Feast of the Nativity of the Lord, Christmas Mass, when the brass supplements the organ, everyone is dressed in shades of holly and red, and of course, the pews are packed to the gills. During Christmas, we remember the story of Joseph coming “home” to the city of his lineage – in some fashion, we celebrate all of our family and friends who make their way “home” to mass on Christmas Day as well.
I find that there really are two approaches to this phenomenon: those who delight in a Church fully alive (noisy, wild, boisterous) and those who humph until their parking spot and pew are rightly vacated again. It’s somewhere in the back of my mind, but I seem to recall a saying about rejoicing over the lost and found, leaving the 99 for the 1, the sick in the need of a physician…
In any event, it should be with great joy that we welcome everyone home on Christmas Day because, really, we shouldn’t want the parking spaces to open up again or for more roomy seating conditions to return. Ideally, after months away our absent parishioners would, like the cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies, fall in love all over again and find themselves back the very next weekend.
This same cycle is going to play out at the YMCA, Planet Fitness and local track as well. Maybe you are thinking to yourself that you’d like to work on your health, maybe you want to be the one returning to a happy and healthy lifestyle. Perhaps, though, you fear taking someone’s parking spot or messing up some jock’s free weights. Well, friends, turns out there was room at the inn the whole time. There’s room in the pew, there’s room on the track.
If you are thinking about working out more this year, do it. It only took one friendly innkeeper to say to the Holy Family, “here, it’s not much, but it’s what I have.” We can be that for our friends who come home. We can be that person offering a pointer on the lat-pull-down machine. And if you are the one looking for a space and no friendly faces are found, just remember that you have just as much a right and privilege to the stationary bike, inside middle pew, or any other perk as anyone else in the room. Let’s pack the room this year friends – I hope to see you there.
A few quick thoughts on happenings in the world of running and the Church
Don’t Buy Snake Oil
We said it before that good, bad, or indifferent, people are making New Year’s Resolutions. This also means that many businesses, well intentioned or otherwise, are going to use this social push to market their products or services. While there are plenty of excellent services and programs out there that are designed to help you develop a lasting habit of fitness, there are plenty that are more concerned with the numbers on your credit card than on the stopwatch. If anyone tells you they have the secret formula, the quick-fix, the do-it-all plan that will make you a better you in 10 days or your money back, well, dear readers they are pulling the wool over your eyes.
First, there is no secret trick, if you want to be a better runner, swimmer, athlete, reader, friend, etc. you need to put in the work. The saints lived lives of holiness because they devoted years to the cause; I may be mistaken but I don’t think St. Ignatius or St. Faustina spent much time in the Self-Help section of Barnes and Noble (for a number of reasons, to be fair).
More importantly, though, no business, service or product, regardless of its mission or intent can give to you your dignity and worth. Friends that comes from our baptismal identity. Full stop. We can live out that baptismal call to holiness by glorifying God with the strength in our bodies or sharpness of mind but no lift, run, or fad diet can change that.
On Running Shoes
Similar to the last note, there are lots of options when it comes to running shoes these days. While different shoes are going to have particular strengths and weaknesses to them, there is no “best” shoe or magic shoe that is going to be the key to your running success. If your resolution gets you to a running store (please, do yourself a favor and get to a running store – the employees will know their stuff and you’ll be shopping local) make sure you get a good pair of shoes that you feel good in. Don’t let anyone sell you something you think you don’t need, but don’t be afraid to invest in a good pair of shoes – if you’re serious about running, you’ll be using them A LOT.
2020 is Here!
Guys, 2020 is here and that means the Olympic Trials are right around the corner! I don’t know about you all, but I am elated to watch what should be an incredible race through the streets of Atlanta. Of course, we have the Summer games to look forward to as well. It’s going to be a great year folks.
While I couldn’t make it down to SLS this year, Frassati Running definitely did!
I don’t know about you guys, but following along with the incredible line up of events sure had me fired up. Whenever skeptics cry about the youth leaving the Church, I look at events like SLS and see thousands – thousands – of young people in prayer before the Lord, in line for Confession, praising with joy the beauty of our Church – and I am strengthened in my own conviction for our Church: past, present, and future.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Guys, I can’t much go into this without spoiling anything, so if you want, click here for my take on the latest installment of the Star Wars saga. Fair warning, there will definitely be spoilers. Spoiler free, though – I loved the film. There were a few choices that I was a little disappointed in, some I was frustrated with and a few that I was more than a little confused about, but overall, I think it has staying power and I will definitely be returning to this one again.
Upcoming events, prayer intentions and other items of note
Half Marathon Group
If you have been thinking about running a half marathon or want to run a faster one, Frassati Running has put together a virtual training group designed to help you achieve your racing goals. Starting January 20, we’ll embark on a 14 week training plan complete with scheduled workouts, regular prayers, weekly challenges and profiles of inspiring saints and runners to keep you motivated.
Along with the plan itself and the community built around it, every athlete who signs up will also receive a Frassati team t-shirt, a vinyl sticker (great for water bottles and laptops) and a PDF of our team training guidebook. The cost is only $10 a month. Sign up here!
- Thomas takes on the Louisiana Half on January 19. Thomas has been putting in the work over the past few months and I know he’s ready to fly two weeks from today. (If you’re interested in a 1:1 coaching program, check out information on layout, cost, benefits and more here)
- I’ll be lacing up the Nike Vic 3s for another crack at the indoor mile in a few weeks. Last year I ran a 5:12 indoors so I’m hungry to get my indoor time back under 5:00. Stay tuned folks.
- Our athlete race schedule really revs up mid February; if you’d like to add your name to the calendar, you can do so here.
- We have more than a few athletes discerning priesthood and religious life. Please pray for them and everyone else discerning such a call that they may be strengthened to respond to God’s call.
- For everyone returning from SLS, that they may keep the fire of the Holy Spirit burning in their places of work and learning.
- If you have any intentions you’d like to add, you can do so at our prayer board, here.
A Saint, Memorial, or Feast of the Week
Elizabeth Ann Seton
The first person born on what would be American soil to be named a saint (though, not the oldest) St. Elizabeth Ann Seton showed the infant nation what holiness could look like in difficult and often changing situations. Raised in the American Episcopal Church in colonial New York, the young Elizabeth would often travel with her mother as she participated in various charitable rounds through the local church. Elizabeth would marry and have five children with her husband William Seton. Sadly, her husband’s business failed and she soon thereafter died of tuberculosis. With no one to support her or her five children, Elizabeth Seton and her children moved to Emmitsburg, Maryland where she would open a school for young children. While living in Italy, she was moved by the truth, beauty, and goodness of the Catholic Church – the pillars she witnessed in action would be the foundation of her new school and her personal conversion.
Elizabeth Ann Seton would go on to found the Sisters of Charity and see to it that countless children were given a good and holy Catholic education.
A prayer or habit to take with you this week.
“Lord, may the work I do today be for your Glory. Amen.”
A simple, but anchoring prayer, consider praying this as you first wake, pour your morning coffee or grab your keys.
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