Sunday, 27 March 2016

Confessions of a melancholic runner: and the surprise God left me halfway....

I have been completing some pretty high distances recently with my running.  Last week I ran 21.2km which is actually the furthest I have ever run (take note -  running a half marathon distance is not nearly as fun without the start line, cheering crowd, water stations or port-a-potty's).  So this Easter weekend I was only set for a nice, easy 10k run.

But I am a melancholic at heart (or by temperament lol) and that sometimes makes what should be a nice, easy run a true challenge. For those of you that have heard of different temperaments or perhaps have even been tested to see what their own match is - it is basically a personality profile. 

And I am a full fledged melancholic. 

Now that deserves a blog post fully on it's own, but a summary is that I have a tendency to think very negatively and can often be quite critical of myself - and this often flares up during a run; even if they start out well.  A melancholic tends to run (no pun intended) with negative thoughts, picking up more and more along the way and the tricky part is when they become consuming - during my long runs I truly need to make a strong effort to stay positive or else my train of thought goes something like this:
1k - I feel OK, my legs feel strong, cross-training is paying off - this isn't too bad
2k - I have to go the bathroom, my shins are feeling a little tender
3k - I have to take a walk break, what kind of runner needs a walk break at 3k...
4k- I walked for too long, my pace is off now, I will never finish at a good time
5k - Halfway, yet it feels like a marathon - why did I ever start running anyway?
6k - I have to go to the bathroom, my music sucks, this whole "become a runner" thing is a dumb idea
7k - I see another runner, it's like they are out here just to remind me of how slow I am
8k - This is my worst time ever, this is officially the last time I ever run
9k - I just saw my reflection and it was horrifying - I am cancelling my Fabletics membership
10k - Finished, I still have to go to the bathroom - where I will hide until I am over this run.

So when Friday turned out to be a pretty crummy day, I was already preparing for a melancholic run Saturday morning - but God had different plans, and to fully grasp what happened I need to give you a bit of a background:

December 15 2016
I was taking our dog out in the yard to do his "business" before bed - I was tired, Stuart was on midnights, the toddler was finally asleep and all I wanted was to be in bed myself.  But alas, I was standing outside, waiting on the dog, under one of our large trees and I noticed something out of the corner of my eye.

It was a pink and blue bouncy ball.

You remember the kind right? You would usually find them in a gumball machine and they always bounced so high!  Well, there one was - just sitting under my tree.  And I grabbed it, stuffed it in my pocket and thought nothing more of it except that it was a choking hazard for the toddler and I couldn't leave it in the yard.

January 29, 2016
Unseasonably warm weather had us playing outside - I was pulling the toddler around on a little sled and we pass under the large tree, again, something catches my eye. 

It was a bright green, glitter filled bouncy ball.

I find this odd now, I text a picture to Stuart and casually joke saying, "Maybe God is sending us bouncy balls" friends, be cautious when you say things 'casually' about God - there is nothing casual about Him :)

March 16, 2016
The whole family was outside enjoying an early start to spring, Lincoln was wandering around the yard moving all the decorative rocks we carefully placed years ago to spots he feels they truly belong.  Stuart and I are on the other side of the yard when Lincoln comes running around the corner of the house yelling with his hand outstretched; clutching a new treasure.

It was a yellow, sparkly bouncy ball.

Things are getting odd now. 3 bouncy balls have randomly appeared in our yard over 3 months.

Friends, I know many of you will think this sounds crazy (except for the Phibbs family; they are LOVING this right now...) and seem like a collection of coincidences.  I mean, we live in a neighbourhood with lots of kids - they could very well have thrown them over the fence, bounced them so high on the sidewalk they landed in our yard - heck, a crow could have dropped it on the way out of town.  But the coincidence theory ended yesterday.

March 26,2016
Like I said, I was set to run 10k yesterday, and Friday was a bad day. Friday was filled with exhaustion, and frustration, lost tempers and lonely feelings.  I knew I had to do this run, and I was dreading it - I was tired of running, tired of the 6am alarms and tired of the same old route that I run every time.  So at 10:30pm on Friday night, as I got into bed I decided to make a new route for my run tomorrow, run a different 10k, with new views, new roads and hopefully a refreshed heart.  I mapped out my new run and headed out bright and early Saturday morning, asking God to meet me on this run; as I felt weary and defeated before my feet even hit the pavement.

Well He met me, just about at the halfway mark.

I was about 5km from home, out on a country road running a new route that I have never ran before.  It was cold, frost covered the fields, I had forgotten my mitts and I had spent the first 5k trying to let my head and heart clear.  I told God how lonely I felt, how discouraged I felt and how sorry I was for not trusting His plan in my life ....... and then there it was, in the middle of a back country road:

A pink, glitter filled bouncy ball.

I couldn't believe what I was actually seeing - out here, in the middle of nowhere, a perfect little treat; waiting just for me -  I picked it up, rolled it around in my hand, laughed out loud and finished a beautiful 10km run.

Might this truly all just be a coincidence? Sure, it could be....or it could be a beautiful little reminder from a God that not only loves us, but likes us and likes to delight in us.  If this pink, glitter filled bouncy ball in the middle of a deserted country road on my running route is just a coincidence than it was a much needed one - but I chose to believe otherwise.

And I say, bring on the long runs, bring on the hard days and the good days.....and bring on the bouncy balls,



  1. Hi Barclee, way to go on your commitment to running. I love how you look and listen for God in your running. It's so beautiful how God meets you. The glitter is extra special. :) Blessings of abundant joy! Angela

  2. This is so awesome, Barclee!!! Just a sweet little reminder that He wants us to let our worries, doubts and frustrations roll away, and if we just stay focused on Him , He will meet us in a fun loving way. I love this so much!!! You should keep a jar on your mantle of God's bouncing reminders. �� Thanks for the inspiration to keep trucking along!!