Wow, has it really been two weeks without a post? The calendar says it’s true, but I’m having a little trouble reconciling the dates; I guess the combination of increased workload, decreased training, a national holiday, and a nagging injury can throw you off your stride. Let me do a little recap, and see if I can get re-synced.
When last we spoke, I had just received confirmation that I was was entered into the 2014 Chevron Houston Marathon, and I talked about studying my training plan from runcoach.com. My original intent was to “officially” begin training on the Sunday after the Fourth, with my first workout being an 8-mile long run. Well, I have been having issues with my Achilles tendons since that very
stupid short-sighted ill-advised decision to run a half-marathon barefoot, without ever training that way. Yeah, it felt great to run so “light” (for the first ten miles) but I didn’t give any thought to what my body was conditioned to doing. Now, six weeks later, I am STILL paying the price: it takes about one mile of walking and very easy jogging to loosen up and get the pain to go away; then it comes back somewhere around 4 miles, and by 5 it’s enough to reduce me to walk/run intervals. My first weeks’ long run cut off at 2.8 miles, and that at 11:00/mile, not the 9:15 I’m targeted for on this distance. I sent my coach an email. explaining what I thought was going on, and was advised to take an easy week, with some cross-training and light running, to extent that I could do pain-free.
I must be maturing as a runner and an athlete, because I actually followed that advice! I decided that endurance was more important than speed, so I set out to do the easy runs all week focused on distance rather than pace. I also made a sincere effort to create a cross-training plan I can and will stick to, combining weight training, core strength work, and stretching. (As a bonus, I have the Wife doing the cross training with me – no fitness widow, and one step closer to running with me someday!)
So after a week of ease, how did the second long run turn out? In a word, meh. I made twice the distance, (5.3 out of 8 miles) but I still can’t improve the lousy pace, and once it started to hurt, brother it hurt! I was actually limping by the time I got back to where I had parked. I got home, got iced, got some rest…and got honest with myself – I have a long way to go before I am ready to run this race, both in time remaining and things I need to train into. A lot of it is mental toughness that I need to develop. I cannot allow minor irritations or setbacks (like a slow pace or a run cut short) to overwhelm my perspective, and cause me to miss what’s really going on (like an injury that clearly needs more time to rehab), or to ignore the truth in favor of some pie-in-the-sky ideal that doesn’t bear up under reality.
So I reset my schedule, back another week, and I refuse to be apologetic about it – or to think that I should be. I will do more than just rest my ankles this week: I will reset my attitude as well; I will practice patience, and remaining faithful even when it’s not “my plan” we’re following. Gosh, does anyone else out there recognize this pattern of submission and obedience, and the promise of certain success it holds? Looks a whole lot what being a disciple means, huh? Check this out:
That’s the Endorphin Warrior bracelet I won a few months ago on this blog. I find a remarkable number of parallels between the physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines required to be a runner, and the physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines required to be a follower of Jesus; I chose that particular word, “Believe“, because to me that is the essence of how we are to live out our lives as followers of Jesus. It’s not just knowledge that makes runners, or disciples.; knowledge only reveals where we have already been. Belief is going beyond that knowledge, when necessary, to follow a trusted leader or teacher, who wants to help us achieve what we never have before. We must have the courage and fortitude within ourselves to remain consistent, to persevere, to endure; we must be able to say, “I will!” even when we don’t know how…or if…we can do it; we must believe.