Starting Over

Posted: February 9, 2014 in knees, patience, running, strength

Today I went for a run.

That might not seem like a big deal to you, but it is a huge, enormous, just-landed-on-the-moon kind of deal to me. I haven’t “gone for a run” since July 2013.  For someone who was used to running 4-5 times a week, it has been awful not to be able to run for the past few months. Why haven’t I run, you ask? In short: my knees. Now that seems like a common complaint of long distance runners, and I’m not complaining. Buuuut,  having searing pain every time you run and throughout every day gets to be a bit much. I see an incredible chiropractor in Toronto (well, when I’m there) who is working with me to figure out how I can keep running. Every time I’m home, I make sure I get a few visits in with him. He analyzes my form and technique, and figures out what I need to work on and which muscle groups are weak. Loooooong story short, my knee hurts because my hips and glutes are weak and because my foot kicks out when it should be straight.

The good news is that my problem isn’t physiological…meaning, I’ll be able to run long distances again. Whew! The not-so-good news is that it will take a while to rehabilitate my body and get back into long distance running.

When I heard that, it was like a big weight was lifted off my shoulders. I went into my last visit with my DC thinking, “I’ll probably never run again. He’ll tell me the damage is permanent.” After a long and intensive diagnostic session, my DC figured out where the problem actually lies and has given me exercises to help me through it. My next running goal? A 10k in July!! But slow and steady is the way to do it, right?

The past few months have been hard. Some days it’s been downright awful. I didn’t realize how much I love running; without it, I’ve really missed a big part of my routine. It’s been tough to watch others run, and hear about how other people are killing their workouts and running. I daresay that not running has depressed me a little, and I’ve eaten those feelings (aka “put on some weight”)  been inactive and been a couch potato.

However, I’ve got a new outlook! Armed with the knowledge that I’m going to be okay and the exercises to help, I’ve started working towards my new 10k goal. And today was the first time I’ve run outside, and for longer than 5 minutes at a time. And it felt amazing!!! I was back on one of my running routes… it was a cold, rainy day… my body remembered what to do… my heart was happy… my head was concentrating on keeping my feet straight… my tunes were blaring… everything was going just fine.

*sigh* What a great run.

I am totally starting from the beginning with all of this. My muscles need to remember what it feels like to work in that way. My lungs need to remember how to breathe to support me. My feet need to remember how and where to step to keep me from falling.  Luckily, my body is willing to give me a second chance.  As I was running today, I got to thinking about how God never forgets me, and gives me a second (third, fourtieth, hundredth, zillionth) chance. He is faithful when I am not. When I am. When I am far. When I am close. God is always faithful. He never changes (James 1:17, Hebrews 13:8) and I am forever grateful. Everything I have is because of God’s mercy, grace, and incredible love.

It’s outrageous.

It’s never-been-seen-before.

It’s scandalous.

I’m forever grateful and forever in awe of God’s grace.

 

 

Thank you, Lord. May I remember, know, and experience this every day.

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Because I Said So!

Posted: February 28, 2013 in commitment, program, running

“Why should I go for a run today?”

Because I said I would!

Today wasn’t a super easy day. It started off with me sleeping through my second alarm. Oh man. I couldn’t figure out if it was Thursday or Friday and then was just in a bit of a stir trying to get ready. Okay sure, so sleeping late means I got up at 5:15am, but that’s stil late for me :). Made it through the day alright… if not a bit ‘off my game’. Maybe it’s the weather? It’s really grey and sorta rainy today. It sure made it difficult to find some motivation to run after work.

I had a conversation with a student just as I was leaving, looking for some motivation to run.

“I don’t want to run today.”

“Why Ms K? You really shouldn’t run if you don’t feel well.”

“I feel fine. All healthy. I”m just feelin’ kinda lazy.”

“Well then you should definitely run.”

You can’t argue with that, can you? Of course, I knew all along I should run. I just struggled today with not wanting to. And I think that’s okay sometimes. We can have doubts and fears and anxieties, but it’s just really important with what we do about them. This afternoon, I ran 🙂 I kicked a wee bit o’ sugar into my system and got the push to get started. Once out there, I actually enjoyed myself, relaxed and had a pretty good run. In the end, I’m glad that I did: not just because of the run, but because it meant I was keeping to my program. I said I would work this program and I’m going to do it. It’s funny that I should be struggling with this today… I have had a few stern “talks” with students this week about this very thing: keeping their word, and doing what they said they would do. It’s a lesson I need to learn too!

“Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Matthew 5:37

That’s not to say that it’s going to be easy, or that I will magically feel like running every day that I have to, but I feel good knowing that I am committed to doing what I said I would do. Gotta keep on keepin’ on!

“I know where I’m going … “

… but sometimes it looks so far away!

Today I finally put my schedule into my calendar, and synched up the dates and everything. Whoa. It was a bit of a reality check for me — only 12 weeks away and I’m not where I should be at this point. It would be different if I were running a normal road race, but this time I’m training for an 18k night trail race. Yep, you read that correctly: night trail race. 2/3 of that phrase really freaks me out! It’s hard enough getting back into training, but add that extra bit of newness and a whole lot of anxiety comes with it. In my head, I know I can do it. As long as I’ve got knees to hold me up and legs that will carry me – all of this Lord willing! – then I’ll be able to do it. I’ve yet to find the same confidence in my heart, though.

I think, sometimes, I get all bogged down in the details of the here and now … in the circumstances that I can see… instead of focusing on what’s to come. Like my runs right now. I’m feeling heavy and slow and getting frustrated with the lack of progress that I’m feeling. But I know that it will all be okay once I get into my program. I need to remember where to focus and what to do with my anxieties and worries.

I Peter 5: 6, 7

 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Ah right. That’s what I’ve been forgetting! Good to remember and I will spend time each day to do just that!

Lamentations 3:22-2
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

 

No matter what happens in a day, we go to sleep, we wake up, and a new day is upon us. A fresh start each day. I’m so thankful for that, for so many reasons.

You might have noticed that I’ve been a little ‘quiet’ here for a while. (It’s almost embarrassing, really.) It’s not that I haven’t been running, it’s just that I haven’t been writing about it. I had a fantastic fall — trained for my second half marathon — and really enjoyed the whole process. I was going for a PR, and worked my butt off to get there. The race was in Macau, which was a new race for me, and I was pumped. My running idol, Coach, was running too and we were geared up for a great time. Mother Nature was not on my side, and the entire race was windy, cold, and only about 15 degrees Celsius. As I crossed the finish line and looked at the time, I felt deflated. It was much longer than I’d anticipated, and longer than I’d felt. Within 24 hours of the race, officials admitted the distances weren’t correct: I’d actually run 1.6km longer than I’d thought. I’ll never know my official half marathon time for that race, but if I average my speed over the whole time, I’m pretty happy :).

That race was in the beginning of December, and then I took some time off. I went home for Christmas and indulged in some amazing home-cooked meals and rekindled my appreciation for good wine. No worries, I thought, a couple weeks off won’t hurt that much. Well, a couple weeks turned into about six. Unintentionally, of course. I started 2013 off with some really awful news about my good friend, and personal trainer, and wasn’t really able to get back into routine. I struggled in going to the gym, because that’s where I worked out with my friend. I ate to help squelch whatever emotions I wasn’t dealing with, then getting upset that I felt ‘big’ or ‘unhealthy’ or ‘squishy’ (my trainer’s favourite adjective to describe me) but not working out to deal with it. A vicious cycle :(. As much as my head wanted to run and exercise, my heart and body just couldn’t make it happen. That was really frustrating. Thankfully, I turned a corner and have been getting back on track and back in focus.

Recently, I’ve been reminded about God’s faithfulness, which is ever-present and continues even when I am unfaithful. God doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Because of that, we can trust Him and His word. Every day is a new day. Thank God!

You know, the same is true for running. Do you ever have those days when a run just doesn’t turn out like you thought it would? I do. Too slow, too hard to breathe, too much knee pain, too awkward. You know what I’m talking about. But the most amazing thing happens: the next time I go out is a brand new run. My body, my legs, and my lungs don’t remember how badly the previous run sucked, they’re just doing their thing. Each time I lace up my shoes is a new run. I’m thankful for that!

I’m starting a new 13 week training program (details to follow). Though I’m not where I’d like to be- running or otherwise- by God’s grace I’m not where I should be. I’m thankful for each new run, and each new day, knowing that His mercies are new every morning.

Here we go again!

Distraction

Posted: September 10, 2012 in choices, commitment, determination, running, worry

Author’s note: It has taken me over a week to do this. That alone has gotta say something about being distracted! MK

 

Yes, I have been running. No, I haven’t been writing about.

It’s tough to write about runs that haven’t been going so well. I did follow my plan for last week – including a PT session, interval training, and some short and long runs – but I just wasn’t feeling it. It could have been a combination of the heat, humidity, and/or tiredness from work. I’m not sure … I just know my heart wasn’t in it.

It’s disappointing. My long run had to be cut short because I just couldn’t do it. Even though it was only 9k, I couldn’t make it past 5 (and that was pushing it!) I ended up going out earlier the next day for my recovery run, and that was much better. As I spent a whole lot of yesterday lounging on the couch, I was wracking my brain to come up with possible explanations for last week.  I think I’ve got it:

Distraction.

My mind has been elsewhere, and so not focused on running. My dad went into the hospital last week for a few days, and then again on the weekend, and I think I was more preoccupied with that than I realized. Being away from home isn’t easy, especially when something goes wrong. (My dad is okay now. Home and back to work and recovering. Whew!) I’m surprised by how much it affected what I do. Normally my runs are my ‘quiet’ time to decompress and process.

Was I trying to ‘deal with’ stuff on my own? Haven’t I learned how that goes yet? When will I get it right?

Trying to go through stuff alone doesn’t work. My spirit is unsettled when I try to do that. I need to give it all over to the One who handles the world and everything in it. No matter how I’m feeling, what I’m thinking or doing, God is the one who can take it. There’s no safer, more peaceful place to be than in His hands. And this week was a lesson for me in learning how to be. Too often I busy myself in doing, and don’t spend enough time being. Running here and there, doing this or that, and just keeping myself from focusing on what matters. It’s no wonder I haven’t slept well lately.

I’m restless.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

That helps. Though last week wasn’t easy, it was a good reminder for me to recognize and realise where I’m putting my trust and hope. And I will be restless until I rest in God.

 

“Hello. Remember me? Your running self? You used to talk to me, and about me, all the time. It’s been ages since I’ve heard from you. What’s been going on? Your runs lately have been few and far between. And when you do go, you don’t have the same enthusiasm that you once did. Are you okay? Do you still like to run? Do you remember how?”

I’ll admit that it’s been a long time since I’ve consistently run. But that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about it, or left it completely.

Quite the opposite, really.

I have signed up for a half marathon. I have 13 weeks, starting tomorrow, to get myself back into running shape and ready to conquer those 13 miles. Sure, I dabbled in running this summer during the holiday: I did some early morning runs around the lake at the cottage, and Dad and I ran a 10K race. I was happy to have run at all! Now that I’m back in HK and into my routines, I am so ready to take on another challenge. Last year’s half marathon was such an incredible experience, I was quick to sign up for another one. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. In fact, I’m really worried and quite anxious about the whole thing: What if I can’t do it again? What if my knees don’t hold out? What if I get too busy with work? What if I can’t follow the training program? What if … ?

Whoa. Slow down. Why would I entertain doubt and  negativity before I even start? I won’t.

I know it’s not going to be easy. Nothing worth having comes easy, isn’t that what they say? I know there are going to be days when I love it, and times when I don’t. There will be days I wish I could throw in the towel, and days where I’ll feel I can run forever. It’s going to take so much of my time, and be worth it in the end. It will hurt. It will help. It will change my life.

So here I go. Not in my own strength, but in God’s. I give myself, my time, my energy, and my plans to the Lord. May anything I do give Him glory and honour.

Proverbs 16:3
 Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans.

Because It’s Good For You

Posted: March 23, 2012 in choices, commitment

Do you remember being a kid, and forced to eat brussel sprouts, which you used to hate, and would whine and complain and ask “But why?”  What was your mom’s reply?

“Because it’s good for you.”

Didn’t you hate hearing that?  Not just because it was said so often, but because you somehow knew your mom was right? So, you plugged your nose, gulped it down in one humongous bite, and then washed it down with a big glass of water.   Actually, as I grew older, I realized that I actually quite like brussel sprouts 🙂  I eat them willingly, because I know they’re good for me AND they taste delicious!

A visit to the dentist a few years ago resulted in a stern “talking to” about flossing by my dentist. He was telling me that I’d continue to get small cavities between my teeth unless I started flossing, and that I should floss “because it’s good for me”. Hmm. There it was again.  But I knew it was true, and I made it my mission to floss every day, and to get into that good habit. Guess what? I can’t go a day without flossing!

Tuesday’s run only happened because I know running “is good for me”. I wasn’t really in the mood for a run (what I wanted to do was go home and eat), but I ran anyways. I stuck to the prescribed 4.5k (the quick run down to dragon boating practice) and that was it. It wasn’t fabulous, it wasn’t craptacular. It was just a run. And I’m okay with that. I know that things will get easier the further along into my habit I get. Running, and the desire to run, will come easier when I’ve done it so much that it’s something I simply have to do.

God’s been prompting me lately to get moving on my prayer life.  I know it’s not where it should be, and I really want to be more effective in my spiritual walk that way. I’ve been reading  Too Busy Not To Pray by Bill Hybels, and am finding it to be super helpful. I realise that developing a prayer life takes commitment and time in order to form a habit. I mean, I know that prayer “is good for me” but it goes deeper than that. I think prayer is essential. Vital. So very necessary.

“Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees.” ~ Corrie ten Boom. 

And so I’m praying. Even when I don’t really feel like it. Even when I think I’m too busy.

Because I know it’s good for me 🙂