The marathoner’s psalm

I was out doing a really tough run this morning, not tough because it was the longest run I’ve ever done (that was last week), but because of the warm, humid conditions. While I was running, I kept thinking of something my husband said to me this past weekend. He advised me in his ever-so-gentle-way to find ways to think more positively as I run.

He’s right. Negative thoughts don’t usually creep in during my training runs, although there are hard runs where I don’t feel especially happy afterward. But in tough races, for reasons I don’t understand, a negativity sets up shop in my mind.

Then the grumpiness pours out along with the sweat. And who gets the brunt of that ill temper? My husband. And I’m usually at my grumpiest right when he sweetly comes back from his finish to run back in with me and cheer me to a strong finish. Not at all what he deserves.

So this morning, I tried to use the especially soggy conditions to force myself to think of positives. I found myself grateful for many things along the run: the ability to run at all, the time to run, a shaded path and much more.

Then – because I had a long time still to run – I started thinking of Psalm 23 and ways that it applied to my life as a runner. I started adding new words, and the result became my prayer of gratitude for the morning, a psalm for marathoners that I hope you’ll enjoy reading, whether you run at all or consider yourself an unrepentant couch potato. Maybe it’ll encourage you to take a challenge or negative mindset you’re dealing with and turn it into a psalm of praise:

The marathoner’s psalm
The Lord is my running partner.
I can want for no one better.
He makes me run in tree-lined shelter.

He leads me to cool waters after the race.

He restores my soles for each new run.
He guides me through trails of difficulty
All for His glory.

Even though I walk through aid stations
From miles 20 through 25, I will fear no DNF*
For You are with me.
Your clouds and Your breeze, they comfort me.

You prepare a table of bagels and bananas
As reward against my doubts and fears.
You have anointed my head with rain;
My gatorade bottle overflows.
Surely Your love and protection will follow me all the miles I have yet to run,
And I will run with You at my side for as long as I am able.

* For those of you non-runners out there, DNF = Did Not Finish.

I’m hoping God sees the humor in the psalm I’ve created. I enjoyed my morning run more for the time it gave me to talk with Him and think about the real Psalm 23 and all the blessings it promises. And only He knows how many times I thanked Him for the mercy of clouds and a breeze to keep the humid sogginess from leaking into my soul.

Do you have your own favorite psalm that gets you through tough runs (on the trails or in life)? I’d love to hear what they are, and I’d love to know if I’ve inspired you to write your own prayer asking God for His blessings in whatever challenges you’re facing.

4 thoughts on “The marathoner’s psalm

    • Lauren — you could if you trained for it. I couldn’t have run a marathon when I first started running (or for many years after I started running). The training makes all the difference.

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