By Christopher Cudworth
She told me “Baby, when you race today
Just take along my love with you
And if you knew how much I loved you
Baby nothing could go wrong with you”
–The Beach Boys
Have you ever run and ride…when you are in love?
Because if you have, you’ll know that love can make you indomitable.
The feeling of being loved, and loving fully gives you endurance beyond imagination
Love is mystery
It is inexplicable in some ways, how the human mind can be so connected mentally and physically, and that being in love can be so powerful.
You go out for a Saturday morning group ride and the surges don’t affect you. Every pedal stroke feels natural and free. Your thoughts are so focused that the normal cares of life seem to wash off your back.
Or you set out for a 20-miler and the first 10 miles you find yourself thinking about all the things you love about the person for whom your heart has become entranced that you still feel strong for the second 10 miles.
Love is ageless, by the way. Love is real for everyone.
Love and strength
Experiences like that make you wonder what love is, that it can be so strong? That it can carry you through tests of will.
Marathon. Half Marathon. Triathlon. Ironman. And beyond.
You try to explain it to yourself, and to others. How love makes you feel good. Better than you should some days. But words somehow fail. The feelings are so strong. So you turn to classic sources to examine what love is, and what it does. You want to know why you can run so far and ride so long when you’re in love.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 tells the story of love and why it sustains us so…
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love draws us near
We’re drawing nearer to the truth of love and its mysteries, yet the post-modern view might add some odd things to the mix. Love doesn’t second-guess. It does not dispense with hope in favor of cynicism. It appreciates a good bargain at Costco.
WE LOVE IT!
That’s the problem with love these days. It gets tugged in so many directions that it makes finding love even more difficult for all our supposed sophistication and technology. eHarmony. Match.com. Facebook. Pinterest. Who knows where it all goes next?
When love can ostensibly be won or lost in a text or a social media post, how tenuous is love itself?
Read the passage from Corinthians again and remember the part about patience.
Love is patient. It is kind. It even goes with you when you run and ride.
Like the Beach Boys song says, love goes with you even in the heat of competition, when fear might otherwise rule, love is still there, hidden behind desires and motivations, but love ultimately undergirds all that you do or say.
Beyond the wedding refrain of the Corinthians definition of love, the passage continues with some of the strangest yet most comforting language in all of the Bible.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
That means love transcends all, and triumphs over all our thoughts and expectations. It even silences that which we think we know. That is eternal love, of course. It is there for you too, you know.
So we run and we ride with love on our minds.
Sometimes we finish the entire journey of our workouts and can hardly remember the scenery for all the scenes that have been playing out in our heads. We rehearse conversations too good to believe. Recall making love in the morning when time itself seems sensitive to the touch. Love is so big it surrounds us sometimes.
Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast.
Where can we find love, and how? Can we run or ride long enough to sort it all out in our heads? Or will it always be racing ahead, confusing as a tangle of tarsnakes on a winding road?
Is the road where we go when we are in love and want to show the world? We both guard our deepest secrets and yet shout them when we crest the tallest hill. Love can be confusing that way.
Love is especially confusing when it is forbidden, or not tolerated. When someone tells you that you cannot love another, you love them the more. Just ask Romeo. And Juliet.
Or when you finally come out to the world and are relieved of the sheave you’ve worn so many years to hide your love, that day is liberating.
Love can be heterosexual. Homosexual. All points in between. It is all real love.
Now the world
Now the world is opening to love. It knows there are more forms of love than the imaginations, religions and laws of society have previously allowed. Suddenly we find that we can share love even when it is different than our own, or with another race of people. It is all love. Love does not dishonor others. It is not self-seeking.
We also find real triumph in self-acceptance, and self love. People can see it in us, and want to share in that. So we gather in public places and run and ride and share the love of those activities and the people who enjoy them as well. Feel the pain, then feel the love. It’s all good.
Love catches up
We love and then we struggle sometimes. Realities press in. Our feelings get hurt. Emotional pain catches up with us through circumstances that bog us down. Personal loss. Divorce. Change. Time. Family. Work. DNF.
Life is bitter sometimes. We long for love instead.
Love is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs.
Sometimes we need to slow down so love can catch up. Life is a no-drop run or ride. Circle back and bring love with you the rest of the way. Be grateful it is still there. Give it a pat on the back or the fanny. Invite love to draft if it must, to keep up with you, and life.
Love needs a friend now and then.
Heart and soul
It is an amazing thing to be loved. To run and ride with love in our souls and our minds.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth.
So we need to be honest with ourselves. Face the truth. Be honest with others. Even when it hurts, or we fight. Find ways to put back together. No drops, please.
Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Do you see it now? Why life is better when you love to run and ride?
You can hear it said. I love to run. I love to ride.
But now you appreciate it. There’s something deeper there.
Forgive and be loved. Forget and be free. Love and be loved, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.
For 10k or a Century.
Love runs and rides with you. Breathe it. Dream it. Believe it.
Love is free, but it has a cost.
But when you buy into it, your life can be changed. For the better.
And you gotta love that.