Monday 5 miles, Tuesday 3 miles, Wednesday 5 miles, Saturday 13 miles. Run. Run. Run.
For the last 6 months I have steadily built mile after mile into my legs. I have diligently trained, completed 5 ks, a 10 k, a half marathon, all the while building to reach a marathon. Then on a Saturday morning run I made the greatest mistake of my running career—I tied my laces on my shoes too tight. My run was a simple 9 mile jog from my house to downtown Duncan and back. As I was making the turn out of my neighborhood on mile 3 I felt a slight soreness on the top of my foot, but I ignored it, simply repeating “pain is weakness leaving the body” in my head throughout the rest of my run. The result of this simple mistake was a deep bruise in the top of my foot that did not heal quickly.
Over the past few weeks I have tried light runs, stretching, tying my shoes tighter, looser, and even running in my old pair of shoes to solve this problem. I knew the solution but just did not want to lower myself to do it… rest. I did not want to rest because it would kill all the momentum I had built over the past 6 months. It seems that an injury (some less real than others) has always been what has derailed my exercise program from year to year. I was just not ready to quit.
So what did I do? After my bruise seemed to grow and grow, I rested. After a week of rest Monday arrived… 5 miles. I laced up my shoes, stretched out my legs, drank a good bit of water, and hit the road. I wish I could say that it was the easiest run of my life, but it was not. My legs were tight, my foot still ached a bit, it was HOT, and in the end, I finished.
I know more than ever how easy it is to get derailed by a nagging injury. I have learned that truly pressing on means listening to what you need both in the good times and in the tough times. I knew that I have to get back on the road if I want to complete my final goal, a marathon.
In the book of Philippians, Paul uses an illustration from running. He says, “ I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Life is not always easy. There are some days you need to rest and others that you need to just get back and go. In all things life is about pressing on towards the final goal, the upward call of God.