Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Running Woes= Perseverance

Warning: This is my running story. It may be boring to you, but I'm writing it for myself. Besides, I'm learning something much bigger than running, so that's what it's really about. 
The first time I really started running as a hobby was after my first season of soccer in high school. I'd never played before but I'm a natural athlete, so they put me on the team. I had a great season and ended it being in the best shape of my life. I loved the way I felt, so I kept running throughout the year until next season. I only played for two years, but that is definitely when I first fell in love with running.

Fast forward to the week before my freshman year of college. I hadn't ran a LOT since soccer in high school, so RBI week came as an absolute shock to my body. I played softball for North Georgia, and Coach Davenport had scheduled three days full of treacherous running and team bonding activities. I have NEVER been so sore in my life. This is when I fell in love with Epsom salt baths and ice massages from a Dixie cup!  I think I ran a 7:57 mile (we had to run it in under 8 minutes or else we'd have to run it again!).  We ran a lot for a softball team all throughout the season, and I decided I didn't like feeling like everything was so hard and I was out of shape. Now, this is why I do understand when people say "I hate running" or "I'm just not good at it." When you are out of shape, running is MISERABLE. It hurts, it's hard, and you wanna quit.  It takes a while to get to a place where it's easier cardiovascularly and on your muscles and joints.  Most people don't stick with it long enough to get past that point, which is when it becomes enjoyable.  So I started running on my own all throughout Dahlonega, and I was addicted again. I ran every day, at least 6 miles, and that didn't include what we ran at practice (which could sometimes REALLY add up- like if he caught my teammates skipping class and we had to run 8 miles for them even though I'd already ran 6 on my own!).  Once when we were in Hawaii on a softball trip, me and three teammates went on a morning run. We got lost and ended up running over 13 miles! It was hilarious!!  I remember that someone created a group on Facebook about me and my friend Katie Thrasher running way tooo much, but we both just loved it. It was such a stress relief.  I was putting in 50-60+ miles a week.  The nest two seasons I ran a 6:30 and 6:17 mile.  And RBI week was MUCH easier.

I stopped running once I moved back home because there wasn't anywhere to run. I will run on a treadmill (in fact, I trained for my first half marathon entirely on a treadmill), but definitely prefer open air and road.
Plus, I didn't have anyone to run with me and mom was scared to death I was going to be kidnapped. She still is. Thank goodness I have a few running partners now, & my hubby got a bike & rides with me- it's hysterical! (And a great way for him to get cardio in!)

I have ran some off and on in the past four years since I've been out of college. I ran several 5 Ks, a 10 K, and a half.  And now I've signed up for a FULL MARATHON in November. It was one of my goals for 2011, and I thought I'd already missed my opportunity with half the year being gone. One of my really good friends, Crissy Ivey, (who is also the phenomenal cross country coach & an excellent runner herself- having completed many full marathons in the past couple years) told me she signed up for Savannah. Right then I decided I was in.  This is something I want to do for me, because I've always wanted to, and because it forces me to take time to train and not say yes to every other possible obligation thrown my way. 

I have taken the training very seriously over the last several weeks. And I have faced some major challenges already. Get ready for this!
Week 1: On day 1of week 1 I developed MAJOR blisters on the inside arches of both of my feet. They were huge and painful and I had to deal with them during the whole week. I still have ugly calluses now 5 weeks later.
Week 2: I lost the second toenail on both of my feet. I was wearing old shoes that weren't a half size bigger (your feet swell when you run long distances, and many runners often order a half size bigger to compensate).
Week 3: My sports bra rubbed my body raw underneath my boobs and around my arms. I had scabs.
Week 4: I had a run- in with a dog that wasn't on a leash and it got me all tore up. I'm already scared of dogs anyway, and he came after me. I was having a tough time paying attention after the 'incident' and stepped on uneven ground, pulling (light pull-more like a tweak) my right calf.
Week 5: Ran in the am, then headed to take my nephew's senior pics. We were leaving the golf course when I slipped on loose gravel and ripped the end of my big toe off. Ended up in the quick care with a shot for my nerves (I don't do blood OR needles....or dogs! haha), a tetanus, and 8 brutal numbing shots around my toe. I could still feel him cutting away skin and picking the gravel out of my toe with tweezers. It was awful! He said I could be out for up to 3 weeks!  I have pics, but don't think it's really appropriate.

So, in each of the 5 weeks I have been training, I have faced a pretty uncomfortablele obstacle.  I have had several people ask me if I think God is trying to tell me not to run this marathon. In fact, I think quite the opposite. As silly as this may sound to some, this marathon really means a lot to me. It's a big goal I've had for a long time.  It was not a spur of the minute "Okay, I'll do it because all my friends are" kinda deal. I LOVE to run and have always wanted to conquer this challenge. And yes, I knew I was going to face obstacles. Just like in life. I have a choice, do I want to give up and quit, or stop, rest in the Lord, recover, and come back stronger than I was before. Just think how much sweeter that finish line is going to be for me now that I've overcame all this "crap" along the way.  I have no doubt God is teaching me a lesson in perseverance, and maybe I've just been too busy to recognize it in my life, so he's showing me through my training.

My family, husband, and my friend/coach, Crissy, have all been very encouraging through this, and I definitely appreciate that.  I will still have two months to train when I come back, and I can't wait for my stupid toe to heal up.  I have big plans to go whip this marathon's tail.

Here are some verses that are encouraging me right now.
Hebrews 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
2 Thessalonians 1:4 "Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring."
Romans 5:3-4 "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."
James 1:3 "because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."
James 5:11 "As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy."
And here's my little soapbox about exercise....I do NOT understand when people don't exercise. To me, it's just lazy. "I don't enjoy it" is often an excuse I hear, because DUH, it's not fun when you're not in shape. Or "I don't have time."  But, you do have time to watch tv or spend hours on the Internet? You have to persevere. And it's not about looking good, it's about being healthy and setting a good example for others, especially kids.  I really don't get it when moms obsess about everything about their baby but don't exercise.  Of course I want my babies to be healthy, and I will take all measures to ensure that, but that also means setting a positive example for them and taking care of my own body. Our body is a temple, and we should treat it that way. That means putting good things in (food for fuel) and exercising the toxins out. I know some people think they're healthy because they don't look overweight, but size is not always an indicator of true health. You can be "skinny" and have high blood pressure or cholesterol.  I do enjoy it, but I have taught myself to enjoy it. It hasn't always been fun. And now, I love it. I love knowing I'm doing great things for my body and setting a positive example by taking care of what God gave to me. (And, I like the endorphins too.)


Crissy said...

Running has taught me so much too. God can use anything in our life to get a point (s) across. You are right when you say the finish line will be that much sweeter! Enjoyed this blog!

Kelly Ford said...

I love this post, Danielle! I'll be transparent... i dont exercise regularly. Its a very convicting part of my life. I'm not really "overweight" and my stats are all GREAT (low bp, low cholesterol, etc) but the fact is, i'm NOT healthy cardiovascularly! And my muscles are weak. And i HATE exercising for exactly the reasons you said, i'm out of shape and it hurts. But, like you, i do believe that exercise is a part of the discipline of our lives that when we lack in this area, we typically lack in other important areas (spiritually, specifically). And this is true for me, right now, too.

I really need to get into a class or something that requires me to be accountable to someone else.

So, i'm going to start looking for something to join. You've inspired me by speaking some TRUTH!

Thank you :-)

Elizabeth Drucker said...

I starting running about 2 months ago and it is amazing how good it can make you feel. With two little ones it is the one thing that I do for myself Mon-Fri. It makes me feel much better and gives me energy to get through the day. I have lost about 12 pounds (with about 30 to go!), but feel like I'm accomplishing something. Good luck at your marathon! I know you will do fantastic!

Anna Catherin said...

I think God led me to your post today. I just started running this year, signed up for a half marathon in September, and now I'm sidelined with an injury. I'm so frustrated and discouraged about it. But your story, and especially the verses you listed have been an encouragement. I've been so busy trying to make it better and feeling sorry for myself, I haven't taken any time to think about what God may be trying to teach me out of this. I hope your toe heals much sooner than they expect, and I will be becoming a follower of the blog to see how it goes. Thanks again for your post!