Getting Gritty with it

I went for another 8.5 mile run last week.  I am trying to bump my mileage slowly, so with each increase, I will run it for two weeks before bumping up again.  This second week was harder than the first.  I had foot pain, my achilles were barking, everything just felt off. I limped around all day after my run.  And I felt whiny.  This should be easier by now.  So I backed off a bit on my weekend runs, ran the causeway as usual, but used intervals to try and trick my body into thinking it was getting a rest. I am terrified of getting injured this early in the training game with so many miles ahead.

It hit me that I have come up against a mini wall.  I remember training for my first half marathon.  This happened at several points.  I would be cruising along adding miles and actually kind of sort of looking forward to my weekly longer runs…and then my body would just try to quit on me.  The aches and pains would set in.  I would have to drag myself out of bed in the morning, dreading the very run that I looked forward to the week before.  Now that I think of it, it was around miles 6 and then again at mile 9 or 10 last time.  Lo and behold look at me…staring right at mile 9 this week and in the same boat.

I can do this.  I have before after all.  I have been here before in this petulant, whiny state, and gone on to run a half marathon.  This time however, it is not just the half, but the whole 26.2 miles looming in the distance that I have to digest.  The half marathon is no longer my big kahuna goal, but rather a halfway mile marker on my journey. On days like today, when my body protests at 8.5 that is a bit discouraging.

Then again, I can still remember when running a mile made me just as cranky and whiny as running 8. Time to tell myself to suck it up and start gritting out the miles until I get over this rough patch.  There will be days in the not too distant future when that 8, 9 or 10 mile run will be considered a short run, crazy as that sounds.

Time to pray and let God get me through, rest assured that he runs beside me every step of the way. Time to  tough it out and power on.  In spite of my mini wall, I am becoming stronger with each footfall.  I am becoming a new creation, and change is often painful.  Time to get gritty and run on.

Ch-Ch-Changes

First of all, I stayed up late.  I woke up late.  I did not set my alarm or Kiddo’s alarm. Kiddo usually is up 5 minutes before 6 AM EVERY day, always, no exceptions.  Um yeah, not today.  I bolted awake, fed the Kiddo, fed the pets, got Kiddo dressed and raced out the door.  Husband usually is my morning salvation as Husband usually gets Kiddo up and going. Husband was at work today so I was on call…Husband is obviously much better at this than I am!

Now that you know how my morning started, you can imagine that I was NOT bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to RUN!  I mentally gave myself a pep talk, saying I just had to do an easy 3 miles this morning, a light causeway run.

You know those times when you manage to crack yourself up…say something in your head, and then laugh out loud? Yeah, that was me…getting out of my car at the causeway, laughing like an idiot to no one in particular.  Crazy running lady…literally.

What made me crack up was the combination of ‘easy and 3 miles’, and ‘light causeway run.’ You see,  I still remember  when 3 miles may as well have been a marathon distance.  I also still remember walking the causeway and exclaiming to Husband about all those ‘crazy people running the causeway’.  Just walking the darned thing was exhausting, requiring a break at the top to catch my breath.

Now I am not saying this to brag or boast.  I’m just saying its incredible how your perspective can change when you push yourself, just a little at a time and don’t give up.  God whispers ‘go a little farther, do a little more’.  He whispers gently, quietly and its easy to miss when your body and self whine so much more loudly. “I’m tired, my feet hurt, I’m too busy,” usually win out…but when I don’t listen to myself and actually try, amazing things can happen.

Things that I used to consider insurmountable giants, are now relegated to routine, and I am tackling even bigger goals. Often you have no idea how far you’ve come, because you are so focused on that mountain( or marathon) in front of you.

It is blessed sometimes, to stop and look behind, to celebrate just how far God has taken you.  This applies in so much more than just running.  God nudges us ahead so gently that we never realize that our ‘new normal’ state of being is so much stronger, better, or evolved from where we had been.

For the record, My run this morning was neither easy nor light…I had to walk a few little bits, and it was tougher than I thought on tired legs.  I actually managed 4 miles, and it WAS easier than just a few weeks ago.  And hey, I got off that couch this morning, I listened.  As I paused at the top of the causeway and caught my breath and thanked God for pushing me…just a little each day…for running beside me every step of the way…and for nudging my lazy booty out the door this morning in spite of myself.

Running on rubber legs

Yesterday I ran 8.5 miles ( yay me). This morning my legs were stiff and sore…grumpy even.  I also woke up with a very rumbly and hungry tummy…hangry even.  So ‘goodbye’ morning 3 mile run and ‘hello’ Bob Evans.  I told you I would be honest, and there you go…yep I ditched my run for the siren call of bacon, and eggs, and gravy, and coffee….

Well such indulgence has a cost, and that meant I would have to pay penance by running the dreaded treadmill that evening ( I despise the treadmill…it is torture to my short attention span).  To distract myself while running on a treadmill I have been known to listen to music, watch a closed captioned TV show AND read, all at the same time, just to keep me on the darned thing.

Well I will give myself an A for effort.  I managed a whole 3 miles in a blazingly fast time ( for me) of 30 minutes!!!!! The faster you run, the faster you’re done afterall!

Unfortunately I must award myself a big fat F for results.  I really did push it too fast on tired legs.  My calf muscles are screaming, my glutes are displeased, and my right ankle has sent a complaint letter to the planning committee.  I felt pretty strong while running, but my brain should have known better and taken it easy on my poor deluded legs.

To make myself feel better, I have consumed a delicious, gooey cheddar cheese bacon dog in hopes of appeasing my abused legs…My tummy was pleased anyway. We’ll see how walking goes tomorrow!

How I stumbled into running:

Three years ago my husband and I signed up for a group hike from rim to rim of the grand canyon. I was woefully out of shape and decided to start walking to keep from making a fool out of myself on said trip. I quickly got bored with walking ( short attention span theater here). One of my coworkers was doing a couch to 5K program and so I downloaded my app, signed up for my first race, and started huffing and puffing away.

Running sucked. I could barely jog for 5 minutes at a time, clumping along like a drunken elephant and wheezing like an asthmatic buffalo. I decided I didn’t care for it one bit, but it WAS faster than walking, so I kept up with it. 3.1 miles seemed impossible at the time, but I had paid my entry fee darn it and I was going to do this! My only goal was to finish and to run the whole dang thing, and I did. At one point I was actually passed by a walker… A very geriatric, but spry gentleman who walked like the wind. At the finish line I thought I was going to puke and die, but I did it. I was a RUNNER!

Fast forward to the grand canyon. At our group meet n greet they asked us a little about ourselves. I proudly announced that I had just run my first 5k. I was feeling fit and accomplished, and sassy. I was a RUNNER! That feeling lasted all of 5 minutes, when a husband and wife couple announced that they had both run the Boston Marathon…twice. I quickly demoted myself to amateur jogger wannabe runner slower than a turtle Miss too big for her britches… Well you get the idea.

The grand canyon trip was grueling and amazing and incredible. When I got home, I signed up for another 5k to see how I could do.

Well, I was still slow…but I was faster than before. I had improved a bit. I was hooked just a little…not on the act of running, but on the accomplishment of getting better.

Running is hard. It has never gotten easy for me. I still struggle for each half mile…but bit by bit I feel stronger, and that feels good. Every second shaved off my time or half mile farther I run feels amazing because I know that I have worked for it, earned it.

I have since run multiple 5k’s and one big daddy half marathon. I am still slow. I am OK with that. God has given me a body and made it strong enough to run. I will not complain about my speedometer! I am a Jalopy, not a Ferrari and I am fine with that. A 12 minute mile and a 4 minute mile are both the same distance after all!

I still have a love hate relationship with running. I hate actually running, but I love the accomplishment of knowing I can run a certain distance. Each run does feel like a minor battle won. I am getting stronger.

I am a RUNNER.

God says “run”… You run…

Ok everyone, so most of you know I am running the Disney half marathon in November. I just finished 8 hard miles toward that end this morning and I fought for each mile. But, I did it! Farthest run since February!:)

Well about 3 weeks ago God whispered in my ear that may be, just maybe, I should run…….a MARATHON. I really didn’t care for that idea much and tried my best to just forget I ever heard that small voice. I am not a Runner…I am a runner ( very small ‘r’)….I don’t run to feel happy, or relaxed, or to get my head straight, or feel a greater purpose. I started running because training for the grand canyon hike at a walk was just too damn slow lol. I do not run well, I do not run fast, I do not run pretty. I work hard for every half mile. I run, I curse, I sweat, and then I go eat bacon. Running is one of the few things in life so far that I have sucked at but stuck with. So believe me when I tell you a marathon is NOT my idea.

Drum roll…………..
In May, I WILL be running the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati. My goal is simply to finish, walking, crawling, or being dragged by the Holy Spirit

I was listening to the song ‘Thrive” by casting crowns last night…and it really hit home. And this morning I was running in the fog… I could only see 10 feet in front of me at a time..this is kind of like that, stepping out on faith without knowing where it will go…seeing things one footfall at a time and just trusting God will get me there.

I have signed up in the honest belief that I am not strong enough even remotely to do this on my own. God has asked me to run, and I will grow stronger in the 6 month journey to 26.1 miles. I have no idea what it is I will be learning in all those hours pounding the pavement. I can only guess that He has some things to chat with me about…its the best opportunity to get me to listen and pay attention after all.

I’m letting you all know to make it official and to hand myself some accountability…but most of all, to ask for prayer from my friends and family. Pray that I take the time to Listen, that I am able to train and not get injured, and that if at all possible, I have a bit of fun along the way.

Thanks for reading my ramble! Here’s to the journey ahead!