I am in training. It started a few months ago and has strengthened me in ways that I never could have imagined or hoped. It is also something I was afraid to do, so I knew I had to do it because I always face a challenge.

I have been “In Training” to run my first 5k run in May, since November. I started off running one minute at a time. Yes, an entire minute! I thought I was going to pass out as I attempted to run 1 minute 8 times during my first run. I am not shaped as a runner, and I have spent 43 years telling myself that I couldn’t and wouldn’t be one. Truth be told, I also spent a lot of time worrying about what people would think me; a plus-size woman struggling to put one foot in front of the other. It’s funny how fear can fool you into believing that you are not enough, lesser than, or not able to do great things.

I quickly learned that running was hard, especially when I did it by myself. It is hard, boring, and not something I liked doing at all. I always work better with someone beside me, and even though I needed help I was afraid to ask for it. I thought, “Why in the world would someone want to run with me, if they were a runner?

I would slow them down and show how much I didn’t know about pace, breathing, and form.” I was also convinced that I would embarrass myself if I trained with someone. Then, along came Betsy and Whitney. They volunteered to help. I was shocked they would want to run with me and help me train along the way. At first, I was intimidated to be training with a 20 and 30-year-old, but I soon realized they simply wanted a relationship with me; to help me grow as a woman and as an athlete. They are helping me to run the race, and I am so thankful I get to do life with them.

In November I co-hosted the first In Training meeting. During the meeting, in a completely unplanned moment, I admitted I had been wanting to be discipled by someone for a while, but I hadn’t found anyone who wanted to disciple a pastor. It had a been a while since someone had “run” with me and I was a little embarrassed to admit this in front of the group gathered that day. Just like training for my 5k run, when I read, pray, and try to grow in faith by myself, it is hard and boring. I don’t challenge myself the way others do.

Then Bonnie came forward after the meeting and volunteered to help me. She wanted to run and walk with me, to train and do life with me, and to speak and listen to me and with me. I can see now how much we are growing together. It is nice to have someone to encourage me and challenge me to run the race that God has planned for me.

Being In training is changing me for the better. It is making my muscles, faith, and relationships stronger. The best part of it all is that I am not doing it alone. I get to do it with friends, who are running the race with me. Our prize is the grace, love, and truth of who God is and who He made us to be.

If you would like to be “In Training” or would like to find out about a training relationship, join me at the next Discipleship Gathering on May 19, 10:30am, in the Centre. I will be there with my running shoes on.

Blessings, Kate Bareman – Students and Young Adults Pastor