Whether you’re religious or not, Lent is a period of the year when lots of people challenge themselves to submit to some sort of discipline, be it fasting or going without certain luxuries like chocolate and crisps.
From a religious point of view, I can’t speak for Catholics but strictly speaking I’m not sure you have to give up anything, though it is encouraged as an exercise in repentance and self denial, to connect you more to your spiritual self. I can very specifically recall asking my nana (my guide in all things of God) what she was giving up one year, and she said:
Why would I give anything up? If its such a vice, I shouldn’t be doing it anyway!
While we all can’t be puritans, she does make a fair point. I’m also pretty sure lots people just use Lent to take a second shot at their failing New Years’ Resolutions, cutting junk food in a vain attempt to lose that last 5 pounds.
Due to the chinks in my perfection armour, I’m a fan of challenging myself to do ridiculous things to make up for my fallibility, and seeing as chocolate and crisps have never been my downfalls, I set about setting myself stranger challenges each Lenten season. I remember fondly all the weird looks I got from fellow freshers when I decided that I would give up alcohol for Lent in my first year of university… Despite their disbelief I managed to have lots of memorable fun, and actually make it to lectures first thing after long nights out, without wanting to spew.
This year, I’d been lamenting my fall off the running wagon when I noticed my Berlin half-marathon running mate @bridgetminamore (poet and RDCYounger Graduate) tweeting about her ongoing Catholic guilt (in one extreme case she went vegan for Lent – this girl is hardcore y’all) and considering running every day for the 40 day period. Being the enabler and number one cheerleader that I like to be, I egged her on, even flirting with the idea of doing it myself! And of course, you know how that turned out…
I decided I would do it, then procrastinated, before starting two days late (I’ll make them up somewhere along the line) but I must say, I’m glad I decided to join in. Usually when running over any period of time, I’ve been preparing for some sort of race, whereas this time it’s just about enjoying the fact that my body works, getting me outside and moving, and maybe even starting to like this running thing (I know I’m not alone!).
So far, I’ve run 4 days out of 7 (honestly, I’ll make it up!) twice on my own, and even had my mum join me. My body can’t figure out what the hell I’m doing to it seeing as I haven’t run since last summer, but slowly its getting back into it. Having lost my Nike+ ID chip thingy that goes in my shoe, I haven’t got distances for the runs I did on my own, but all that matters is that I’m out there for at least 15-20 minutes. It’s more than some people, right?
Also taking up the challenge is Team Bangs grad @missmei! Check out how she’s doing over on her blog I’m Running. I Promise., and Bridget has been logging about her daily runs over at Bridget Hates Running. There’s also a lil hashtag going on, #40daysrunning
All in all, I’m in great company and there’s nothing like social networking to remind (read: guilt trip) you of your goals.
Are you giving (or taking) anything up for Lent? Let me know in the comments below!