As I sit to write this, I have just completed a nine mile long run with my training friend. I’m exhausted. My knees hurt. My ankle hurts. I smell. I’m soaked in sweat with salt crystals on my face… Ew.
Though I’ve run this distance before, something was different about this run. I don’t know why, but Every run starts the same way for me. Stretch. Walk. Run. Cramp. Stretch. Run. Cramp. Stretch. Run. This goes on for the first mile of every run, then I’m usually fine until I finish.
But not today! Those (calf) cramps stuck around for a good 3 miles today. And then came back off-and-on for the entire length of the run. It was… Terrible! I didn’t think I was going to be able to finish.
Side note: My training friend is Awesome because she goes before our long runs and leaves water bottles throughout our route at every three-mile mark. (Lord, Bless her!)
As I was seriously contemplating stopping and doing this run another day (which was not an option if I want to complete my training plan in time), I realized we were at the three-mile mark! I was so surprised and delighted to have a moment to stretch and refuel with water! It was a miracle I made it that far!
Three miles more, I told myself. And ran three miles more.
At this point, my left IT Band needed a good stretch, and my right ankle was not happy with my tight tendons…
Can I really do this? Will I pull a muscle if I keep running through these cramps? If I pull a muscle, I’ll have to pause training! I can’t pause training! Ain’t nobody got time for that! I have to stop. I cant do this! I’m going to get hurt and not be able to run at all!… No, you know what? I don’t feel anything at all. I’m not in pain! It’s just my imagination…
As we started back up at mile four, those were all the thoughts going through my head. I wanted to give up so bad! But, I remembered what FITspiration Friday was about this week and realized exactly why this run was so challenging for me.
OK God! I get it! You want me to push through this pain to make me stronger and more resilient! I’ve learned my lesson! Can we be done with this?
That was my conversation with Him. I thought I had learned my lesson just writing the post, but He had plans for me to experience it first hand. So, I surrendered. Quoting scripture out loud I said Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy– think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)
So that’s what we did for the rest if the run! We thanked and praised God out loud for anything and everything we could think of that fit into the “praiseworthy” category. And, y’all, there is So much to be thankful for! Whenever you actually take the time to think about your blessings and thank God for them one-by-one, I’m convinced you can get through anything!
Before I knew it, it was our last stretch. I could see the stop sign that marked our finish and started running harder. The pain got worse and I thought my legs were going to crumble beneath me! But I was thankful for them anyway and FINISHED!
And that is Praiseworthy!!
So, if you are training for a race, or you are dealing with a personal struggle, remember that it will make you stronger. It is up to you whether it defeats you or not. Choose to persevere, and you will be richly rewarded! You will never regret doing more than you could have ever imagined!
Here is one of my favorite quotes:
Being challenged in life is inevitable. Being defeated is optional.
Keep running. Get stronger. You won’t regret it.