My running schedule called for 5 miles on Saturday. A nice long run! In fact, my longest run yet this year! And since I missed my speed work this week (LAZY!) I was eager to get out there and pound them out. PROBLEM! We had a garage sale at our house this weekend and that meant sitting in the garage from 8am to 2 pm. Ok so I COULD have gotten up and went out before that but I really do not do well with morning runs. I am NOT a morning person. In fact there really isn't anything I like about mornings besides coffee! I just never feel like I get enough sleep no matter what. So I missed my Saturday run because we decided to go out to dinner as a family and after that I was in food coma. Fast forward to Sunday. Church in the morning and when we got home the wind was so strong I thought it was going to blow me back in the van. Now I should have sucked it up and went outside. The wind is just extra strength training but I was feeling whimpy and decided to go on the treadmill. 5 miles on the treadmill sounds like a lot and it is, at least to me. I was dreading it but what else could I do if I didn't want to get wind whipped?!
I have always struggled mentally with my running. I am really good at talking myself out of runs or how far I'm going to run. I am great at saying "I can't go any further" and starting to walk when really I could have pushed a little harder and gone at least another .25 of a mile. The treadmill only enhances this problem. At least outside you have things to look at. You can get lost in the color of a house, the way that tree is so much taller than the others, or just listen to the birds, or look at trash beside the road. But on the treadmill (even though mine faces a window) I get addicted to watching the mileage. I stare at it waiting for it to tick over to the next mile which seems to take forever. Usually I end up putting a towel over the screen because I just can't take it. I will watch the mileage and if it isn't going fast enough I get frustrated and want to quit (sometimes I do).
Sunday was no different. I knew I had to get 5 miles in. At first I thought I would do 2.5 and then walk or take a rest and get back to another 2.5. But at mile 2 my knee started hurting me so I decided to just walk a little bit each mile and get this run DONE. I walked about .10 or .15 and then got back to running. This strategy worked well until mile 4. I walked until .15 and then said HEY! It's only about 3/4 of a mile. But that was literally the longest 3/4 of a mile in history. I even increased my speed with .40 to go so that I could get done fast!
After I got done I started thinking about my mental block. Why is it there? Why do I struggle running? While I was in the shower (I do my BEST thinking in there!) I realized that struggling during a run or pushing myself to go faster and do better just strengthens me for my next run. I thought that is how life is too isn't it? We all go through hard times. My life isn't perfect, no ones life is perfect! I struggle with things just like everyone else. I go through hard times and deal with things that I think will kill me but they never do. Days, weeks, months, some times years later I realize how going through that made me a stronger person. I have been able to help other people or connect with someone I wouldn't normally because of something I have gone through.
The more I run the more I realize just how much running and life have in common. We are all in a race of some sort. We all have a course laid out for us and we all have to choose to continue to move forward. Hebrews 12:1 says "And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us," The verse is talking about life but I like to think that it applies to running too. In fact another blog I follow Fit & Faithful uses this verse a lot. Life is a journey, it's like a long run. You some times deal with things you don't want to, things that are hard or hurt but if you keep pushing (keeping your eyes on Christ) HE WILL get you through. You WILL cross the finish line and He will be waiting for you.