Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Here I AM

I like to run. On most days, I love to run. On other days, I really don't know how I feel about running. After my second half-marathon, I went through a period of discouragement. I was tired; tired of the running; tired of the sacrifice; tired of the early mornings; tired of the preparations; and, tired of people counting on me to get things done. I think I lost my passion. I let weariness set in in more ways than one. Just last week, I found myself saying, " Lord, I'm tired." I'm tired of the demands and the stress and the need to keep everything together. I'm tired. I haven't been blogging much and I have been neglecting my dedicated prayer and quiet time. This break in my quality time with my Heavenly Father caused me to slip into a place I don't want to go or like to be in. Today, while working out, I listened to a Joel Osteen podcast entitled; Your Second Wind is on the Way. How befitting a title and a message! On Saturday's group run, the comment was made that at the end of my run, I seem to come up with this "kick". I perfect my running stride, my running form and the last meters look effortless. Where does this come from? I've been conditioned and trained to finish strong.

Joel Osteen's sermon made some good points and also referenced running as examples. Sometimes, you are tempted to give up. Sometimes, you allow fatigue to set in and you grow weary and stop pushing and stop trying. But, he reminded me, it's at those times, when you must fix your eyes on the prize and keep pressing. Press your way through the pain. Press your way through the uncomfortable feelings. Press your way through the miles ahead. There were times during training, when I thought my chest would explode and my lungs were on fire. I remember my first training days when I was so tired I couldn't think straight. Everything below my waist would hurt, but I would show up and run even though all I wanted was just one run not to hurt so badly or leave me feeling so sore afterwards. By the time I starting training for half-marathon number two, I noticed my body didn't feel that bad. I could complete a nine-mile run and not have to take a 3-hour nap! My body was becoming stronger. I didn't realize the subtle changes initially, but after a while the hills didn't feel the same. The miles didn't tear me down. The track workouts didn't leave me ready to kick rocks and be done. Training was preparing me ~ breaking me down yet building me back up stronger, renewed and restored.

I'm recognizing each training session was a season of preparation and difficulty. It was designed to push my endurance. It was a time of pushing my body to limits that I didn't and I still don't like. It was a time of running hill repeats, track workouts, tempo runs and long runs. It was a time of learning to run on tired legs. There comes a point when fatigue sets in, but you have to keep running. I've started to notice that I have a tendency to shuffle my feet when I'm tired; my posture changes and my stride changes. I can't afford to drag my feet. It cost me time and it costs me energy --wasted energy. I think I get that extra kick because I can sense or see that the end of the run (or race) is near. On my tired and fatigued legs, I force myself to get it together and correct my stride. That's my extra kick, that second wind that Joel Osteen preached about. When you see me at the end of a race and most runs, you wouldn't realize the struggle I just went through. You can't see the pain I had to push through. You only see the makings of a runner with good form and a beautiful stride.

I'm "preparing" for my third half-marathon and about to start training in two more weeks. My attitude is different. See, I've run, made it through, two half-marathons all ready. It wasn't easy. It didn't feel good. It was difficult. At times I questioned myself and my ability. But, I made it. I made it through 13.1 miles. I'm running half-marathon number three on faith. This course will be one that I will not get to preview first so I can't prepare for the hills ahead or get ready for the straight-a-ways and curves. I must rely on my faith to get through and my determination not to quit. Tired is just a mindset. It's just a battle of the mind. God has given me strength to attack the uphills, navigate the downhills and cruise through the straight-a-ways. It's not about looking ahead and figuring out the course of the 13.1 miles. It's about using my strength and His power to get through each mile without growing weary or faint. I'm taking one mile at a time, and allowing (trusting) God to renew my strength for the miles ahead. This Runner Girl is running the miles ahead on faith and finishing strong.

Quitting is a permanent decision based on a temporary feeling.
God has given me the grace for the season I'm in.
~ Pastor Joel Osteen

Gratitude Journal
I am grateful for electricity.
I am grateful for God's grace.
I am grateful I can run a mile.
I am grateful that God is my comfort, my strength and my refuge.

Here I AM by Marvin Sapp

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