An Ode to my Treadmill


Don’t read this. This holds nearly nothing of value. Nothing about our missions work. Nothing in the way of a spiritual lesson, although I know I have learned things from it.  This is just about little old me and a gift I just received. Read this only if you think you might enjoy a silly walk through my psyche. 

“Running just as fast as we can, 
(walking/jogging really)
Holding on to one another hands,
(death grip on hand rails)
Trying to get away into the night
(or day, or anytime)
And then you put your arms around me
And we tumble to the ground and then you say
I think we’re alone now,
(be still my heart)
There doesn’t seem to be anyone around
(leave me alone KIDS! No, you can’t watch me run!)
I think we’re alone now,
The beating of our hearts is the only sound”
(and my gasping for air)

The immortal words of Tiffany (with context for clarity) were describing my new found relationship with…my treadmill.


important aside – I saw New Kids on the Block open up a Tiffany concert. NKOTB!

I know the area (Mason, WV) from which this beautiful machine hails, but I do not know specifically which person at First Baptist Church made this dream come true for me. 

5 years ago I was running between 2-4 miles, 5 days a week. I had lost weight, felt great and running became my absolute favorite way to blow off steam. I prayed while I ran.  I worshipped.  I battled through fear, insecurities, and hurt. Running became a therapist, mom’s morning out, and prayer time all wrapped into one. 

I rely heavily on schedule (major flaw alert) so as we prepped to move to Haiti and started traveling and speaking, I just couldn’t figure out how to keep up with it.  I ran a handful of times every month but nothing like before. I thought surely I will run in Haiti. 

I have run in Haiti a handful of times at best in all 3 years we have lived here. I really tried. We live on a somewhat busy street so I tried running around a soccer field…jumping cow poop, waving to and politely greeting the woman holding the cow who just stayed and watched EVERY LAP, rolling my ankle on mango pits. Kris tried going out with me at 5:30AM, we detoured around the backside of the horse, walked over the pitted road, past the voodoo altar, and then I could run…past the crazy attack dogs, but still I could run. That worked, until team season had us working 16 hour days.  

Some missionaries/foreigners run here with no problem. Albeit, In a different neighborhood, but they don’t seem to mind the stares, the rock inducing ankle rolls, and the wipe-outs.  I have never been able to do it, not and enjoy it. 

I like to run alone. I don’t want to talk or be stared at. I want to process. I want to pray. I want to be quiet and listen to my heartbeat and my breath. I remember times running in AZ that I would run while processing life, enjoying God’s presence, a few times to the point of tears.  I’m over here admitting I would cry when I ran sometimes. The weepy runner. I’m so weird, ack, embarrassing.  

I usually bring my running clothes anytime I am stateside. I spent a week at my dad’s last year and I ran 14 miles over the course of about 7 days, because I missed it so badly.  I know that distance is nothing for you crazy marathon runners but, I hadn’t run much in 4 years at that point.  

I told Kris 2 years ago, “I need a treadmill.” For my health, both emotional and physical. How to make that happen we hadn’t a clue. I asked around online to see if any local aid workers had one for sale. No one said a thing. We looked at prices, no way. What we needed was a used treadmill…in Haiti.  I had daydreams about facing the treadmill toward the open door and looking outside while I got lost in a good run. 

About a year ago a wonderful church in West Virginia, bought a vehicle at auction to donate to KONBIT. They filled that thing with everything you can imagine. I knew they had so kindly put a treadmill on there for me. The vehicle needed to be shipped here so Kris’ parents drove it to FL and left it with a shipping broker. That was nearly 6 months ago. It was out of our hands. Then after 4 million phone calls the vehicle finally ships and arrives in Haiti. I chose to be stoic about the treadmill because I knew the damage that it could have sustained in transit. I watched it unload and my heart jumped, but I thought, it’s probably broken. I behaved like a bratty teen, because I was nervous. I let it sit one day and then Levi tried it to make sure it worked. It did!  

Now to yesterday. I jumped on it to run a quick mile. I put my music on, faced the treadmill to the door, and I ran. At one point I actually teared up. This may sound totally insane to you but it just means that much to me. So, for the next bit, I will be getting to know my treadmill, running and crying. I already ordered the maintenance kit because I have zero chill about this and my new sweet friend (the treadmill) needs to be regularly oiled and have the belts tightened. She is a fine tuned machine and must be cared for.  I want to name her, but what? Black Beauty? Chariot? Usain? Please submit suggestions.

So, that’s it.  I have no great spiritual lesson in this. I’m just probably the most excited a person has ever been to have a treadmill. I am already planning my run tomorrow. I need running music again. Cue the tears. Thanks sweet people in West VA. I know it’s hard to tell because of the tears, but you sent me a real treasure. Not to mention all the ministry supplies and (clears throat) the team vehicle. Ministry and all the amazing work we get to do aside, this was a gift for me. 

“I think we’re alone now,
There doesn’t seem to be anyone around
I think we’re alone now,
The beating of our hearts is the only sound”

Thanks to you, Tiffany.  Shout out to NKOTB for being such heartthrobs.



5 thoughts on “An Ode to my Treadmill

  1. This makes me laugh and cry at the same time! I love it! So glad you were blessed with a treadmill. So glad you shared about it. So sorry that you had to give up something you loved so much for so long, but thank you. ❤️ And the Tiffany and NKOTB shoutouts have me dying in laughter thinking about karaoke at Michal’s 40th birthday party. 😂 Love you!!! Can’t WAIT to see you in April!!! 😘

  2. Love you so much my dear friend …. and yes, I was all teary reading your post about being all teary as you ran. My heart is so happy for you!!!

  3. You are the cutest! I get it! I totally get all of it! I would die there without some outlet!! I,too, cry and pray when I run. Some days I feel like a gazelle, others, an elephant. I pray. I think of my parents and brother and best friend in Heaven. I cry more….. ugly. Really ugly, not Carrie Underwood ugly. I beg God to subside my anxiety, my frustration with mothering 5 very different kuds. I ask him to give me the energy to do childcare with love, energy and enthusiasm. And I THANK him that I CAN run. I thank him I am alive after countless life-threatening illnesses. I thank him for my very BLESSED and BEAUTIFUL life. I GET YOU, Rachael!!! I’m still thinking of a name, but maybe “Savior”? Albeit that may be considered sac-religious? I love you for this entry! I KNOW I am not the only one who will relate! God bless my neighbor, WEST Va! No one deserves this gift more than you! Love you!!

  4. Rachel, I think of you all often, pray for your ministry, & imagine what thise kids are up to. They must be getting big! Hello to Kris. God bless you all. I am now working at the UMC in Satellite Beach FL. I believe this was one of your Dad’s last appointments in FL. They are a great loving congregation. We love it here.

  5. I’m sooooo happy this prepcious treadmill has come into your life! If I had such a companion, I’d name it “Dr. Sanity”, as that’s what running does for me! Then if someone wants to schedule anything during time you’ve blocked out to run, you can just say, “Sorry, I’ve got a doctors appointment!!” 😉

    Praying for you, and your family

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