indomitable runner girl

I’ve had several seasons in my life where I greatly looked forward to a “prize” only to have it taken from me at the very last moment. My heart has resonated greatly with Proverbs 13:12 on more than one occasion.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…”

Of course, I’ve also had times where got to experience the joy of a long awaited “hope” (marrying the Husband, births of my living children, surviving basic training…etc). These moments are better described by the second half of Proverbs 13:12:

“…but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”

This post isn’t about those. This post is about the disappointment, and sometimes devastation, that comes when the bottom drops out of your plans. To date, none has been more devastating than waiting 42 long weeks for the arrival of my son, only to say “good bye”, but even less tragic events can send me into a tailspin of “why God?” Which brings me to my plans to run a marathon. If you’ve been following along, you know I had my share of set-backs along the training path. There were times when I wasn’t sure I’d even make it to the start line due to injury. I even had moments where I wanted to quit out of sheer fatigue. Of all the scenarios I imagined for race day, the one that occurred was not even on my radar.

I was baffled as to why God allowed me to train for months for a race that, ultimately, would be cancelled due to a freak ice storm. Nine days later, I still cannot wrap my brain around it. Our family ended up iced in at my parents’ house for days and boy did I sulk. I wanted to be able to say I’d run a marathon. I trained hard for it. I felt I deserved the prize. I was angry. I pitched a fit in a prayer to God (well, more than one). “It’s not fair!”

Of course, God didn’t “un-cancel” the marathon for me or the Husband no matter how poorly I behaved. Initially I thought, “What’s the point in striving for something? Why should I bother setting goals?” In my tantrum state I wanted to announce that I shall never run again, and I’m going to quit TaeKwonDo for good measure. “I probably won’t get the black belt anyway,” I thought. Geesh, yeah, I was really in a mood. However, the more the Husband and I processed this, the more we came to the conclusion that God is sovereign, and He does have a plan whether we perceive it or not.

I also thought about the five tenets of TaeKwonDo… namely the last one, “indomitable spirit.” I looked up the word indomitable and quickly realized there was absolutely nothing indomitable about the attitude I had. In fact, I felt quite defeated, conquered, and vulnerable. Now, I don’t know how the TKD powers that be intend “indomitable spirit” be interpreted, but my take on it is that God’s presence is the only thing “indomitable” about my own spirit. Without Him, I’d be stuck in that discouraged place. I can choose to recognize that God is undaunted by the cancelling of a marathon, and He has a greater plan at work… a plan that is for my good no matter how much I might like to protest to the contrary.

Lord willing, I shall run again soon. I don’t plan to train for another marathon this coming year because, Lord willing, I shall train for and earn that black belt in 2014. I’m not giving up, but I am changing my perspective on where the true power to press on comes from. And so, through not running the marathon, I discovered that, in Christ, I truly am an indomitable runner girl.

presson

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adapting runner girl

I’m a recovering perfectionist, and as such, I still get really annoyed when I can’t follow a plan perfectly. I’ve had setbacks during this season of marathon training, and just when I thought I was on the other side… enter another one. I am amazed that something so small as a toe could wreak so much havoc on my training. I don’t even know what is wrong with it, but wearing a closed toe shoe makes me want to scream. Add some impact and, oh my stars, just kill me now.

bikergirlI’m also rather stubborn, so you know there is no way I’m skipping workouts. Instead, I adapted them. The day before our 16 mile long run, I rode the spin bike at the gym. Miraculously I was able to do the final 16 mile run on the trail (thank you, Lord), but now my toe is swelled up again. I’ve had to get a little creative because I couldn’t wear a shoe the day after that long run. My legs felt fine, so, I walked/jogged in bare feet with Leslie Sansone for six miles. Today, still too painful for impact, I biked two straight hours at the gym, attempting to mimic the “strength” run on the schedule. The toe still hurt during these workouts, but not nearly as bad as running on it. My concern is if I attempt to run, and favor it at all, then I could potentially cause another injury in the process. I guess I figure it’s better to purposefully adapt the workout than allow my body to unconsciously adapt my running gait to avoid pain.

Of course, I’ve never run a marathon before, and I have no idea how all of this will translate to my performance on the day of the race… provided I even make it to the start line. Still, I’m taking comfort in Deena Kastor’s story in Spirit of the Marathon. She sustains an injury that doesn’t allow full weight/impact on her foot. She continues to train, but adapts it to pool running and stationary bikes. Now, I don’t have access to one of those pool treadmills she uses in the movie, but I do have access to bikes (and a lap pool). I don’t want to spoil the ending of the movie for you, so I’ll just say that Deena does make it to the marathon. Obviously she’s a professional, Olympic, record-holding athlete and I’m a slow mom-lete running for a “finisher” t-shirt at my first marathon, but I’m encouraged by her story nonetheless.

jumpergirlI’d love to have some kind of guarantee that I’ll get to run this marathon, and that it will be a pleasant experience (I didn’t say “easy”), but I know that I’m not going to get that kind of reassurance. What I do have is faith, which is a different kind of reassurance. Only God knows how this thing is going to turn out, and unless He stops me entirely, I’ll use minor injuries to exercise the faith of this adapting runner girl.

“We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.” ~ Romans 8:28 (AMP)

hungry runner girl

PeakatTheAcademySo, I’m still running… and running. We’re down to the homestretch of this marathon training plan (Hansons), and I’ve gone through a myriad of emotions. There was a moment a few weeks ago where I actually googled “I hate marathon training” to see if there were any others out there who shared my misery. I came upon a post that was actually titled “I hate marathon training”. I probably would have laughed all the way through it, but at the time all I could do was nod in agreement with a “preach it, sister” thrown in. I thought about pecking out a blog post under a similar title, but too cold and tired to think, opted for a nap instead.

I’ve graduated past the place of hating the training. I’m sure that has to do with the leg injury healing (finally). I didn’t realize how awful I felt during my runs until it went away. Now I’m dealing with traumatized toes and constant hunger. The balance between under-eating and overeating seems elusive. I have learned that eating a late dinner does not make for a pleasant early morning run (ugh).

We’ve got our final 16 mile training run coming up this weekend. Although we’re nearing the end, I can’t seem to reach that point of excitement at the prospect. I suspect the reason for this is the looming 26.2 mile finish line I must cross first. When the husband says something like, “We only have 4 more SOS workouts till the marathon,” it seriously stresses out this hungry runner girl.

sunriserun

wannabe runner girl

Since my injury on Sunday, I’ve struggled to keep my spirits up about all of this. On Monday I skipped TKD but skated for an extra hour hoping that I could work my legs without the impact of running. It was painful. Still, I thought I would be running on Tuesday… nope. I spent most of that day with my leg propped up being iced or heated, while alternating stretching and strengthening exercises throughout the day. I watched a lot of TV in the hopes of “escaping” my depressing thoughts. Using the foam roller on my leg brought tears to my eyes. I do understand why my husband finds this so funny. I too laugh when he screams while using it. There’s just something about seeing a grown adult willingly inflict pain on himself while involuntarily screeching.

Wednesday was more of the same… ice, heat, stretching, resistance, pilates, foam roller… but much less TV. That morning I received notification of Beth Moore’s latest blog post and it was exactly what I needed. She asked the question “What’s undone?” I could have listed a dozen things, but I wrote down six. I’m behind on my Bible reading schedule and the Daniel study I should have finished by now. So, I got to work reading and studying while I did all that sitting. I wonder if the Lord allowed my training to come “undone” for a few days to show me that I’d allowed it to overtake higher priorities. Probably.

So, this morning, the leg still hasn’t fully recovered… and now I’ve got an infection in my eye (also related to that Sunday 10 mile run), but I got up and spent time in God’s Word before other stuff. Despite not feeling well, the Husband urged me to at least try the spin bike today for some cardio (in addition to the strength and stretch stuff). This wasn’t in a class setting (which I like), it was a bike by a big window. Staring at the same thing for 45 minutes was rough, so I tried to focus on the music pumping through my headphones.

My leg seemed to tolerate the bike without much discomfort. Hopefully I won’t be a wannabe runner girl for much longer.

injured runner girl

Could you hear my screams of frustration yesterday? After my first 10 miler of this training plan, I couldn’t put weight on my right leg without significant pain… not soreness, PAIN. I’m still trying to figure out the issue. My leg began to hurt a few days ago, so I changed out my shoes hoping to avoid injury due to wearing worn out shoes (been there too many times). Saturday went well so I figured the change of shoes was the answer. Sunday was a whole different ballgame though. I spent the rest of the day after the run icing and resting my leg in hopes of making it out for my run this morning. Unfortunately, my early morning hobble to the bathroom proved too painful for a six mile run.

I sulked… pouted… threw a mini fit on the bathroom floor… and finally prayed. Someday I’d really like to think about putting prayer before (or in lieu of) my pitiful bratty behavior.

The Husband put on his running shoes as I hobbled down the stairs. One of the kids asked if I was running too… frown…. “not today”. I continued to the weight bench in the basement where I began work with some lower body strengthening (mainly leg lifts & calf raises). Next, I did pilates. It does feel a bit better after the strength workout, but still too painful for impact. I pulled out my Hanson’s Marathon Method book and read up on their suggestions for altering the plan due to injury. If I still can’t do impact tomorrow, I’ll probably hit the stationary bike at the gym, or maybe “run” in the pool.

As of now, I’m injured and praying that it’s short lived.