Run with Endurance

Many of you have been periodically checking on me, asking me how my training is going for my half-marathon that is coming up in April. I can honestly say that training is going very well! Thanks to the SmartCoach Training plan by runnersworld.com, it has been such a do-able training plan. It has been very gradual, very consistent, and yet still challenging enough for me to feel like I’m pushing myself without overdoing it.

As many of you have probably know from my numerous tweets and facebook status updates, I have run (no pun intended!) into a few set backs physically. First, my left foot starting causing me a good deal of pain about 4 weeks into training. It was progressively getting worse so I eventually went to the doctor. I had a pinched nerve. Ouch. So I had it adjusted and then got a cortisone shot in it for the inflammation. Talk about painful. But it really did help tremendously. Just recently I’ve felt like the pain has been slowly creeping back, so I might have to get another shot before the big race. Ahh hopefully not though. That was painful enough, I’d hate to subject myself to that kind of pain again..but I will if I absolutely have to.

Then I started getting blisters. Not any kind of normal blisters that I’ve had before. But huge, painful, nasty blisters that KEEP COMING BACK! I’ve done Vaseline, moleskin bandages, blister bandaids, and specialty running socks. It’s gotten better. But those suckers are relentless. I am eager to get the race completed just so my feet can heal and look feminine again!

And the most recent injury? Self-diagnosed Iliotibial Band Syndrome. Basically it’s the inflammation of the band that runs from your hip to your shin and feels like it’s affecting the outside of your knee. Poor Matt has been feeling it for a few weeks now, and I had my first experience with it on Sunday when we up’d our mileage to 8 miles, but thankfully I’ve read that it backs off with rest and strength training. Hello, lunges.

Speaking of 8 miles though, 8 MILES!! Are you kidding me?! I never never never would have believed I could possibly endure for 8 miles. Literally, the beginning of January I could not run 1 mile without stopping. This is a HUGE accomplishment for me! And let me just add here, I am so thankful for my husband for training with me. He really does push me and encourage me SO much along the way. He deserves a HUGE amount of credit for me pushing myself this far. And he also deserves a round of applause for building up his endurance as well and running every step of the way with me. (Well, poor thing couldn’t run the last little bit of the 8 mile run because of his knee, but other than that…EVERY STEP OF THE WAY!) He is such a strong supporter and encourager to me. I’m so thankful for him 🙂

Anyway, I thought I would share a little bit of what I go through mentally in a long distance run. Obviously as you can tell, I’m not doing this for speed. Farthest thing from it. I really don’t care how slow I go as long as I’m enduring and putting one foot in front of the other. So because I’m not the fastest runner on the planet, I get some good solid time to think in my runs, especially the long runs on the weekends. It has become such a precious time for me to pray, think, and rehearse Scripture to myself.

It has been my prayer from the beginning that doing this half-marathon and training for 18 weeks would teach me discipline and perseverance more than anything else has before. Wow, the Lord sure has been answering my prayers. When the run starts to get really tough, the Lord quietly reminds me, “Keep going, Beloved. Use this as practice for real life. When things get hard, you must persevere. Look to Me for your strength. Put one foot in front of the other and realize that you are more capable than you realize.”

Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

These verses run their course through my mind quite a bit while I run. I repeat them over to myself, reminding myself that this physical act of running and enduring is a small picture of such greater things. It prompts me to pray about those sins that are so easily entangling me, keeping me from enduring in my walk with the Lord. I confess those things He brings to mind so that I may continue to endure through the trials of life, this race set before me. May I ever fix my eyes on Jesus, keeping Him as my prize. He gave me the prime example of enduring the cross, despising the shame, and sitting down at the right hand of God when His work was done. I cannot sit down until His work for me on earth is finished. I must keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep enduring, and keep looking to the JOY set before me. When my race of life is finished, only then will I have permission to sit down and enter into my inheritance.

That same chapter goes on to talk about the discipline of the Lord. He disciplines us for our good so that we may share in His holiness (v.10). Verse 11 is a constant stopping place for me, “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”

This half marathon that I’m doing on April 28th is just a TINY picture of the REAL race that I’m in. All discipline that is required of me to finish the race will train me, leading me into that peaceful fruit of righteousness! I thank God for that. It makes every step of the way worth it.

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My Life in Sweatpants

Sweatpants.

We all love them. They are man’s greatest fashion invention for all of us who enjoy a nice lounge day every once in a while. They are also man’s greatest invention for the uniform of the Nanny.

I feel like I live in sweatpants. Honestly. If my job weren’t enough to keep me in them, training for a half marathon in the winter months (ehh…winter/spring) keeps them at the top of my “most worn” list. Most people would love this type of attire to wear all the time. Being a nanny is quite possibly the best excuse to wear sweats and a t-shirts every day of your life. You are constantly running around with kids, sitting on the ground, and getting food and markers and paint on your clothes. However, you’d be surprised how cumbersome the most comfortable clothing of all time can become. When it becomes your uniform, it begins to have another kind of mantra attached to it: “All I ever wear is sweatpants. I feel like a slob.”

I’ve had many a conversation with other nanny friends of mine who completely understand with where I’m coming from. While we’re grateful for the ability to dress comfy every day, there comes a point when we begin to feel like a bum. It gets so exciting to wear a pair of jeans and heels on the weekends. Party animals. I know.

Yesterday I was wearing my sweatpants, at work, like I do nearly every day, and I began to think. Because my job description basically requires me to keep the kids alive and busy, there’s surprisingly time to ponder different things. I don’t have deadlines for paperwork. I don’t have office meetings. I don’t have work to take home. But I’m beginning to wish that I did. That got me thinking. As I was swinging on the swing set, I feel like the Lord began to draw some parallels together in my heart.

Swinging on a swing set is a lot like chasing your dream. When you’re first learning, it takes some time and effort to figure out how to get started. But once you nail the pumping of your legs, back and forth, out and in, you quickly can get the hang of it. But you have to keep pumping in order to get higher. You have to keep pumping in order to keep swinging. As soon as you stop putting forth effort, you begin to slow down and lose momentum. You’re not even maintaining. You’re on your way to a complete stop.

Now I don’t know if the Lord meant for this to be a defining spiritual moment for me, but I do feel like He taught me a lesson. Not even close to the caliber of the Apostle Paul(Philippians 4), but I do think that I’ve learned to be content in my current job situation. I didn’t say I’ve learned to love it. I’ve learned to be content. But if I ever intend to move on from here (and I must, kids do grow up eventually and don’t need a nanny anymore), I have to keep pumping my legs. I can’t just coast and expect opportunities to show up out of the middle of nowhere. I have to keep pushing, keep trying, and understand that it might require a lot more work than I originally expected. But in order to go higher and further than where I am right now, the work must continue. The research must not stop. I have to keep talking, asking, and looking for God’s open doors to my future.

If I ever hope to have my dream job, I have to keep pumping my legs.