Thursday, April 21, 2011

A dose of humility does a runner good!

Before I started training for my upcoming (in exactly one month...yikes!) marathon, I was feeling pretty on top of the world. I was sure I was invincible, and started my training with a bang. Experienced runners swear by the 10% rule (don't increase your distance or time more than 10% from one week to the next), but I was loading the miles on from day 1. I'm a fit person, I figured my body could take the extra mileage. And I have to say I did pretty great at first. And then I started hurting.

With running in the past, I've always been able to "run through" any pains I've had, and they've been short-lived. This time, however, the pain in my hip literally stopped me in my tracks. I was in denial, and tried to keep running, but it just got worse. It's AWFUL to feel like all the work you've done is for nothing. I found a Physical Therapist, and went for my first visit hoping she'd tell me I'd be up and running in a week. A week is not a major's a mini-vacation...long enough for the body to recover, short enough not to undo any hard work. To my dismay, she told me she hoped I'd be up and running in time for the case.

I started telling myself that maybe I wouldn't run it after all. I avoided talking about running, blogging about running (did you notice I've been MIA?), and especially avoided talking to my running buddies (because I was mad that they were still running and I wasn't). I was mad at myself for putting such high expectations on myself. If I didn't care about my finishing time, I wouldn't have pushed myself so hard to begin with.

The last time I remember being so humbled was when I received my mission call for the LDS church. After studying Spanish for 7 years, and telling everyone how glad I was that I would never be one of those missionaries who didn't know the language (because OBVIOUSLY I would go Spanish-speaking), I was called to Finland. Yep, the country with THE hardest language. Learning Finnish was the most humbling experience of my life. But I did it. And after I did it, I realized how studying Spanish had actually prepared me to learn Finnish.

After nearly a month of NO running whatsoever, I was finally given the green light to start back up. And I'm hoping that my years of fitness preparation will come in handy as I gear up for race day. I've still been speaking the Zumba language, the Cycle language, the Elliptical-backwards language, and the strength training language, so hopefully my cross-training has prepared me to re-learn the running language (so to speak), because I've become one of THOSE runners. The kind who thought she knew everything about running, until her body told her otherwise.

My first "language" test was on Saturday. And in true Robyn-fashion, I didn't start back up with a 5-miler. Oh no. I ran 17. My leg actually felt great. I ran to my son's t-ball game (8.5 miles from home), met my husband, still felt good, and decided I could run home too. At mile 11, I tripped and fell again. I'm not sure what I was looking at, but I didn't see the dip in the road. I expected to land on ground, and felt like Wile-E-Coyote running off a cliff. The ground was gone. I rolled a few times, stood up, checked out my new marks, and started walking to the gas station across the street. A car pulled over, the driver asked if I was okay, and I started bawling, but said yes.

I got to the gas station, and called my husband to come get me. He loaded the kids in the car and started driving, then asked if I was really mentally ready to be done. I wasn't. I really wanted to finish my run. I went in the bathroom, washed my bloody hands, filled up my water bottles, and went back outside to finish my darn 17-mile run.

This marathon training has taken this overly-confident girl for a long ride on the humility train. Somehow I'm going to cross that finish line next month. I might be crawling, but I'm going to finish.

In life, when we set out to do something, things hardly ever go as planned. We stumble, we fall, we get injured. That's all part of this life experience. But when we've recovered, we have two options. We can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and keep going. Or we can quit. This goes for WHATEVER we're trying to accomplish. Weight loss. Jobs. Marriages. Relationships. Raising children. LIFE IS HARD. But we can do hard things. YOU can do hard things. When you're down, just get back up, and keep chugging along. Anything worth doing is worth fighting for!

Happy running!


Art and Evelyn said...

Well said! Sometimes we just have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start again! Shoot, I am (and you are too) the little engine that could!!

lera said...

Good for you for going back out to run! It's so hard to WANT to run, but to not be ABLE to run. I just learned that I have a lot of laxity in my muscles, ligaments, tendons and that it's "just the way you're built." I will never be able to run as much as I want to. I max out around 7 miles and, if I'm lucky, I'm able to walk the following week. Running feels so good to me and I would be out everyday if my body could handle it. It's been a good dose of humility for me as well. (I say this as I struggle with leg pain that has been ongoing for weeks.)

Rochelle said...

Amen!!! I'm sorry you've had to learn humility and I have faith you can do the marathon if you can run 17 miles after a month of not running! And the mission story is so funnY!

Michael said...

Great post. Makes me want to get up and run. Also, I love the visual of you running off a cliff like Wile E. Coyote.

Mommy on the Run said...

Yes yes very well said. I hear ya and I feel for ya. I've been through similar trials. I just ran a half marathon on sunday and I think I did a total of 5 or 6 runs since Janaury and the longest being 8 miles and I wasn't going to run the half but then decided to (like you said one way or another I was finishing) and I ran just fine and finished 2 minutes slower than last years time. Oh well life happens and we can't get to frustrated or discouraged about it, it is what it is!!! Great Post and thanking for sharing ;)

Bree said...

Girlfriend, you and I are kind of like opposites, with the same goal in mind. We both want to run. We both have set-backs. YOU, on the other hand, actually get out there and bust it out... even after falling and washing away the blood. I, on the other hand, often have a hard time just GOING running, and end up sitting here thinking about it... like I am right now. :) And I'm scared to do too much too soon because I know my knee problems will kick in. so it's like I'm just too scared to do anything! But you rock... TAKE IT EASY... and good luck preparing for the race. :)

Jaclyn said...

I love reading your blogs, Robyn. You have a fun sense of humor and articulate way of writing. BUT, I might have to disagree with you with Finnish being the toughest language to learn......!

Aubrey said...

I feel so lucky to have friends with such amazing insights about running. I feel like just reading this made me have a great run last weekend...seriously.

grandmahand said...

Robyn I am so very proud of you and the drive you have. You know your little Avery is just like you.