Skip to main content

I Don't Deserve This

I am four weeks into my 12-week, half-marathon training program, and I have a confession to make: I am running better than I deserve to run. It simply does not make any sense, because I have yet to complete a full week's workout. 

Unless you consider rehearsing with the band for an hour and then leading worship for 30-40 minutes cross training, I have skipped the Sunday workout entirely, and I plan to continue that pattern. Actually, that was always my intention, so I don't feel so bad about leaving out that part of the weekly workout.   But I had planned to live up to the schedule in every other way. That would mean three runs during the week (between three and five miles), and a long run on Saturday, which increases in distance by one mile a week, until I run a 12-miler the week before the race. That doesn't sound so hard, does it? Just three short runs in five days--that should be easy enough for a real runner . . . a dedicated runner.

So far, I have only gotten in all three of those weekday runs once, and even then I shortened two of the runs. I don't know if I can entirely explain, even to myself, why I am not succeeding at this. I do know that I am struggling mightily with motivation and energy on weekdays. 

The good news is, I haven't missed or shortened the long run. Hal Higdon (whose workout I am trying to follow) says that's really the key to training for this race, so at least I've got that going for me. It is the long runs that I have missed most over the last eight years. I have yearned to return to those days when I could go out and run for an hour or two (or three). So I find myself looking forward to these ever-increasing runs each week. 

But here is the part that doesn't make sense. In spite of my failure, I am exceeding my own expectations in some significant ways. I have already run a faster 3-miler than I ran all last year. And each week, as I add another mile to the long run, I have managed to reduce my average mile time. I am running faster, as I run farther. Maybe even more surprising, I am running these long runs faster than I did eight years ago, the last time I trained for (but didn't run) a half marathon (just before my pulmonary embolism).  

I don't plan to sit on my laurels. I truly intend to do a better job with my weekday workouts in the next 8 weeks. But for now, I find myself in bewildered awe and filled with gratitude. 

Thank you, God, for legs that can run and for lungs that can breathe.

 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

This is My Story

In the spring of 1986 I told the story of my brother’s proposal as a part of my lesson on Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29 — a lesson that I was delivering in my English methods course as a senior at the University of Idaho.

Ten years and hundreds of students later, I was still teaching a version of that lesson to my freshmen at Kellogg High School, and the story had grown to be a more integral, a more intentional, a more dramatic part of that lesson. This story brought some sort of magic to my classroom. Students leaned in, faces and postures transformed, and sometimes tears welled up in their eyes. It was the best day of the school year.

When I moved to Timberline High School in the sixteenth year of my career, I was reluctant to bring my sonnet lesson to this new venue. Moving to a new school had brought an unexpected dip in my confidence. Storytelling calls for a certain amount of vulnerability, and I just wasn’t sure I had enough courage to go to that vulnerable place. One day I took the r…

Reflections on Running: Part One

Once upon a time, a girl started running. She was nursing a broken heart, and she needed to do something hard and rewarding. (Is easy ever rewarding? Hmmm, I wonder.) She stepped out of her back door and ran until she estimated she had gone as far as she could go . . . and still make it home. Later she discovered she had run just a little over a mile on that day.
Over the next three years she ran, sometimes with consistency — three or four days a week — sometimes with month-long gaps in between, and, during a particularly satisfying stretch, 5-6 days a week, training for two marathons in one year.
A pulmonary embolism in year six (and a scary doctor) slowed down her progress, and a demanding job made it easy to spend several months each year not running.
But still . . . every time she saw a runner on the road, she looked longingly. She remembered the joy of listening to footfalls landing, one after another, for miles and miles and miles. She remembered the rhythm of breath and beats an…

Surely God is in This Place

A friend wrote today to tell me how our music had been a "necessary balm" during her stressful week. She described some of the events of her week, and I would have to say "stressful" is an understatement. Still, I was delighted to hear that our music had brought her some peace in the midst of it all.

But it was her final sentence that has lasted throughout my day: surely God is in this place.

I had checked my email, while my students watched a short film clip, and when I read that phrase I felt it down to the soles of my feet. I felt its impact so profoundly that I had to put it away for later. The lights were about to come up.

So tonight I went to her message again: surely God is in this place.
Surely God is in this place.

Of course I know this. I know He is an omnipresent God. I know He is sovereign. I know He has me (and He has you) in the palm of His hand. I know it.

But somehow my friend's words--coming as they did after a story of mishap and injury--helped me k…