“This moment, this feeling, was my first step as a runner.” —Chloe Davis
From the editor: I had the good fortune to train with Chloe Davis for her first half marathon—and only her second running race of any distance. Just happy to introduce someone to the sport of distance running, I had no idea the depth of courage and perseverance it would take this 18-year-old Penn High School senior to train. Heck, any first half takes courage, but Chloe was subject to a few extra miles I hadn’t realized. We completed the Borgess Half Marathon on Sunday, May 6, to much fanfare. At the welcoming finish-line: her mother, Jennifer Davis, and my son/Chloe’s boyfriend Scout.
To all those finding faith in their bodies and their ability to overcome, this one is for you.
By Chloe Davis, Granger, IN
You could say I’ve been training for this half marathon even before my steps first hit the pavement. I have insulin resistance, and I like to think of it as a little kid who gets sick off of a three-scoop cone of superman ice cream. So take this for instance as my insulin, too much to go around. The boy’s smile reverses into a puke fest as his body has no idea how to process all that ice cream. That is my body’s cells responding improperly to the increased amount of insulin.
Fast forward to this winter, to three-and-a-half years after my diagnosis; my nurse practitioner says my bloodwork is now basically a nine-scoop cone. My insulin has skyrocketed, and I have no control over the devastation I feel. I say to myself, “I try so hard. I do all I can. Why is this happening to me?” This moment, this feeling, was my first step as a runner.
My Steps of Growth:
Prayer—I would say my talks with God are more of a conversation than your normal prayer. The first part is to admit to myself and the Lord that I cannot accomplish my goals without Him. My advice is to confess your struggles, worries, fears, doubts, and all those that keep you captive from enjoying His full love and grace. Humility is essential to opening yourself up and allowing for true healing to occur.
Talk to Him without the filter of judgement, be real and dig deep to the parts of you that are the hardest to express. He will comfort you, guide you, and hold you always in the palm of His hands. One of my favorite Bible verses is “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will take up wings like eagles. They will run and not struggle. They will walk and not tire.” Isaiah 40:31. The hope I have received through being vulnerable with the Lord has given me the ability to find faith in my body.
Step: Repeat this verse and talk to God in every moment of doubt during your runs, you will be blessed with incredible strength and perseverance.
Gratitude and The Present Moment — I noticed my flaw of not truly appreciating my runs. I would head out refreshed and ready, but the first couple of miles of longer runs were full of getting the creaks out and the joints flowing. My mind would settle into going through my daily checklist, possible scenarios, and of course imagining myself winning an Olympic race. But no, this is my time.
This is my time—a phrase I repeat to myself during all my runs. This is my time to look around and see the beauty of the nature around me and feel the peace of having this time to myself. This is my time to see how miraculous my body is, and how far it can carry me with a positive perspective. This is my time to replace my checklist with my gratitude list. This is my time to start fresh again and cherish every step. My gratitude helps to take me back to the present moment, where I focus on one step at a time.
Step: Name off what you are grateful for during your runs. Take the time to notice every step as a profound accomplishment. Choose to stay present.
Trust—Trusting my body to carry me through runs was a difficulty I faced. I learned that God and I are a team, that every step I take is a step he takes with me. I realized that by not trusting in my body’s capabilities, I was holding tightly onto control. Trying to control the outcome of every little thing caused me to hold too much pressure and anxiety. Letting go was my answer. Just simply saying “God I cannot do this without you, I am giving this up to you and I trust in you” turned everything around for me. Letting go of control and surrendering it to Him, gave me the freedom to enjoy my runs joyfully and see how much I was improving.
Allow yourself the freedom of being satisfied with any amount that you run.
Step: Let go of all that does not benefit you and be patient. Find little things to have trust and faith in during your runs, little things add up. Allow yourself the freedom of being satisfied with any amount that you run.
Choice—The most valuable life lesson I have received: Everything in life is a choice. Choose to pray, choose to be grateful, choose to be patient, choose to be in the present moment, and choose to trust and let go. You have the personal power to overcome anything with God by your side. You can view your situation as the end of the world, or as a new beginning of tremendous growth and learning. Make it to the finish line, no matter the time, no matter the hardships, no matter anything that stands in your way. Choose to make it to that finish line. The feeling of that last step will be profound compared to your first step.
Step: Find choices that give you the most growth and make a commitment to keep them. Make weekly intentions for yourself and know that you can finish.
Featured photo: Chloe, Scout & Jan Spalding at the Borgess Half start line, May 7, 2018.