Guess what?! I’ve been cleared to run 1 mile!!! I am ecstatic but something inside me is saying, “Don’t get too excited yet…you have tried this before.” And I have, but it didn’t last. I thought I was ready but I wasn’t…at least, I wasn’t ready to run 5 miles, like the overzealous idiot I was. Soooo, I’m running 1. That’s what my physical therapist told me to do and that’s what I’ll do. I’m following the rules. Trusting the process. I want to get better.
I know I have gone on and on about this whole process, and trust me, I’m as ready as you are for it to be over. I just want to run. Yes, I love my new workouts, and I will never again have running as my only activity. I firmly believe that strength training, as well as yoga and Pilates, all have a place in my workout regimen, however, I want to run.
There’s just something about being outside under the big blue sky that gives me such a relief. Ah! Putting one foot in front of the other. Seeing how far my legs will dare to take me. Pushing it just one more minute, one more mile. Not wanting, but at the same time, desperately wanting, for it to be over.
Running doesn’t feel good when you’re doing it. Any of y’all who think it’s supposed to feel good, I’m sorry, you’ve been mislead. Your legs and lungs ache, begging you to stop…but you don’t. That‘s what feels so good. The accomplishment when it is over. The view from the top of the hill. The complete exhaustion. The cool breeze on your sweaty skin. The view of the sunset. The reflection. Oh, yes, the reflection. Reflecting on what you just did. And, it’s not always a proud reflection. I have no romanticisms about that. I remember the bad runs just as well as the good ones. Yet, still, you remember and you press on.
What is your favorite part of running?
How do you stay strong when you have to take a break?
If you grew up in church, or even just in the South, you know the story of Jonah and the big fish. All I remember is Jonah being swallowed but by a giant fish and living in his belly for a while before getting out. Until recently, I had thought he fell off the ship. I guess they soften things for kids, because he was actually thrown off…because he asked to be. Yep, cast overboard of his own decision.
Why? Let’s go back to the beginning. Jonah was commanded by God to go to Nineveh and preach, but guess what? Jonah didn’t want to do that. Nope. He ran away from God! What was he thinking? Can you actually do that? Instead of going to Nineveh(Middle East), he jumped on a ship heading the opposite direction to Tarshish(present day Spain).
Then, a giant storm came and Jonah asked to be “cast off” because he knew that this raging storm had come. The rest is history, he was swallowed by a fish and then later spat out after promising he would make good on what was asked of him.
So this got me thinking. God is not just going to let me just run away. No. He is going to pursue me with his relentless, passionate, absolutely overwhelming love. (Who doesn’t want to be pursued??)
I self-sabotage. I think I know what is the right thing for me. I try to control my life. What a crazy thought. What have I been running from? Where have I been afraid to go that I was being called?
There are things I have put off and put off. I have, in my humanness, avoided what I knew I should or should not be doing. Honestly, I just didn’t trust that I was capable of what he was asking of me. So, maybe all that struggle, all that heartache, all the trying to control was me in the belly of the fish. God was waiting for me to surface, waiting for me to let go, waiting for me to give in and do what he has put me here to do.
Today, I finally started physical therapy for the nagging knee injury that started way back in January. No, not this January, last January, as in 2013. Yep. I’m a procrastinator. The honest to goodness truth is I thought I could just rest it out. Take a break from running and it would be no more, but it just so happened I was in the middle of marathon training. I did rest it from running. I did the whole aqua jogging thing. I rode the bike for hours at the gym. You know what I didn’t do? Strength train. That’s the one thing I held back from my body while tearing it down to run 26.2.
Back to physical therapy, from my MRI scan last month I learned that I had a medial hamstring strain and a posterior capsular sprain. So, basically, I’ve had a pulled hamstring for over a year. It has never healed because I haven’t properly taken care of it or had it treated.
I was so happy leaving that place because the doctor was so nice and she understood what I told her when I explained, “the back of my knee feels like a rubber band pulled taunt that gets plucked when I run.” I have no other way to explain the feeling but that’s what it was. She asked me a few questions about it and I was confident that she just knew.
I can’t express the relief that I am feeling right now. I am not getting my hopes up yet. It was only my first session and I’m not running yet, but it’s coming! I cannot wait. Spring is here. I’m ready to run.
And, there’s this…maybe I need more time at the ocean 😉
As you may or may not know, I won a free entry to the Blue Ridge Marathon back in October. I was ecstatic. I never win anything. Then, two weeks later I won a book for promoting a Twitter #runchat with Compassion International. Wha? Two in a row? Where’s my lotto ticket? But, I digress.
The Blue Ridge Marathon is slated “America’s Toughest Road Marathon”. “Road” is included in there because there are trail runs that are surely tougher. Trail runners are tough….annndd I’m getting off topic again. Anyway, I was excited. I was injured at the time but thought for certain, I would be a complete runner by April.
Of course it was going to be hard, but I had just completed Big Sur International Marathon, which is just as tough in its own right. It’s amazing how a human can transcend the body in such an experience.
Big Sur was the most beautiful race I had ever run, or even come close to running for that fact. Crashing waves over the cliffs on one side, the rise of mountains covered in evergreens on the other. This was as close to heaven as I had ever been.
Getting back to Blue Ridge. It is to take place in Roanoke, VA, on none other than, the Blue Ridge Parkway. Gorgeous, in its own right, the Parkway is a popular site for east coasters seeking beauty in the spring and fall.
But, here’s the kicker. I’m still injured. Yep, that’s right. It’s 5 months later and I still can’t run over 4 miles without feeling like I was hit by a truck. (Hence, the MRI post.) There is no way it is possible for me to get ready in a month and a half for a marathon…or even a half. Sad times. So what do I do?
Have you ever just exhaled and not realized you’ve been holding your breath? You know the feeling. You reach a point of contentment that you didn’t feel was possible at this stage in your life. You didn’t realize you had been holding it in, stressed out, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Well, I took that giant exhale when my plane landed. I’m at the shore. The place I feel most at home. The place I feel closest to God. The place that soothes my soul.
I knew that I was stressed. I knew I needed a break.
But today, this week, I feel calm. I feel relaxed. I feel…eucharisteo. (This is a reference from one thousand gifts by Ann Voskamp. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. It’s enriching my giving thanks.)
The sound of the waves. The feel of the breeze on my skin. The sunset after a long hot day. The feel of the sand between my toes. The smell of the salt in the water. These are all the reasons I am pulled to the beach. I am compelled. I am complete.