Stay Humble: Lessons from Marathon Training

Things Don’t Always Go as Planned.

Have you ever had something planned and certain circumstances got in the way? One thing I love about my marathon training is my schedule. I know exactly what distance I am running each day, and I even have my rest days scheduled in. I have it drilled in my head that I must stick to the schedule, and getting these miles in is very important. And when talking about long distance running, someone always chimes in with “ Especially the long run! Never skip the long run.” This all sounds easy enough until something happens making your schedule shift or worse, forcing you to cancel a run.

Be Flexible

After finishing my first half marathon race last weekend, I felt some of the effects in my training schedule this week. I ran the race on Saturday and used Sunday as my rest day. I headed to the gym on Monday expecting to run four miles, while only being able to run two and walk two.  I knew it was ok as I had just finished a race. I should have gone at a training pace, but it was an official race. Austin tells me I have no dial when it comes to official races, just an on and off switch. Since it was an official race, my on switch was on and I ran full force. Tuesday I was able to crank out eight slow miles out on the trail. Wednesday I took a rest day, and Thursday I was going to run four miles on the treadmill. I started out feeling good, after one mile I had to walk, and after a mile of walking, I felt pain in my ankle. The kind of pain that forces you to stop.

Remain Hopeful

How was I going to run 16 miles on Saturday? I went home and RICEd it. ( Rest,Ice, Compression, Elevate) I wore an ace bandage on my ankle Friday while on my feet teaching all day. I sat as much as I could.  I was still hopeful, but honestly very doubtful.

I babied my ankle all night, and went to bed in hopes I could wake up and run at least five miles.

Sixteen Miles Seems Impossible

This morning, I woke up ready to run. Thank you to my wonderful husband who stayed home with my little girls while I ran.  My ankle felt pretty good, and it wasn’t swollen. I was walking pain free. It just felt a little tight. As I drove to the beginning of my trail, I prayed. It went something like this.

 

Dear Lord,

   Thank you for the breath you have given me today. As I head to the trail this morning, I pray that you will be with me. I ask you to keep my ankle strong, and my mind in a good place. I know that running is a gift, and it is one I do not take for granted. I ask that you will give me the wisdom to be smart, and not stubborn. Show me when I need to stop the run, and let me set my pride aside knowing that it is better to miss a run than to miss out on weeks of training because I chose not to be a smart runner and stop when I need to. One reason I run is to take care of the temple that you have given me, and part of that means knowing when to stop. Thank you for allowing me to find this talent and joy that I have in running. I will be grateful for any mileage today, and will leave the trail knowing I gave my all. I love you.

           Amen

 

Slow and Steady

I put on my hydration pack filled with Gatorade, and inside were my gels that help me with energy along the way. I started running, and off I went. To my surprise, there was no pain. Not even a little.  My legs were very heavy and tight, but I had already decided to run slow. It’s the only thing my body would allow me to do anyways.

Remaining Humble and Grateful

I ran. And I ran. And I ran some more. Once I made it to ten miles, I knew I would get sixteen in today. I ran at a pace three minutes slower than normal, one I have never ran before. I just kept telling myself, the time on the feet is the most important part of the long run.  I took more walk breaks than I am used to probably totalling about fifteen minutes, and I stopped to stretch often. Three hours and thirty-six minutes later, I finished the entire sixteen miles I set out to run.sixteen

I finished pain-free, but exhausted and starving. I had a banana waiting for me in my van, and it was the best banana I ever tasted!  This was three miles farther than I have ever ran. I set myself up for a short run, and left it in God’s hands. I knew He was in charge, and through Him I would be capable, but I also wanted to be grateful for anything.

Lean Not on Your Own Understanding

Sometimes things happen, and they don’t always go as planned. I think about how different this run may have been had I not gone into it with such a bad training week and injury. I think I would have missed a very important lesson. I may have forgotten to rely on Christ for my strength. Runs like these remind me that He is the reason I can do all I am doing. My prayer is that I  always remember this run, remain humble, and rely on Him.  Sometimes things don’t always go as planned, and there may be a very important reason!