Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hope in the Lord...and run!

To say I've been worried for a while is an understatement. About 5 weeks ago, I injured my knee. It was two weeks before the Soaring Wings Half Marathon and I took the entire time off, then ran the race. Afterward, I couldn't walk. I bought a pair of crutches it was so bad and hobbled on them for about a week.

I knew it was going to take time to recover. I'd run through previous injuries, but this was worse than any I'd had before. A friend said to take 30 days. The problem was, that was only 5 weeks out from the St. Jude Memphis Marathon, the main race I hoped to get through this year. I was really worried about being able to finish the race
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." -- Matthew 6:34

I remembered this verse, and tried to play it off that I wasn't worried. As the days off turned into weeks though, as race day kept getting closer and closer, I felt like I was drifting farther and farther away from a level of fitness that would get me across the finish line.

30 days off would leave me only 5 days to get back what I had lost during the injury and recovery. Several times through the 3 weeks following the race, I tried jogging a few steps, hoping there would be no pain, a sign that I could begin training again. But each time, sometimes after the first step, sometimes after a few, the pain struck to warn me that I wasn't healed yet.

Even last weekend, at the Walk for Payne, I ran across the parking lot at school before the event and knew I wasn't ready. In 2011, I ran 20 miles at the event. This year, I walked a half mile, and there was only two weeks left before the St. Jude Marathon. Things weren't looking good.
"but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." -- Isaiah 40:31

I kept telling everyone I was still planning to run the race, that the Lord would make it possible. I have to admit though, as the days until the race drew short, and I still wasn't running, even I was beginning to wonder. I had stepped up to the starting line at Soaring Wings after a two-week break, and made it to the finish line. But this would be a full 26.2, and more than 4 weeks off if I took the full 30 days!

I shouldn't have doubted, shouldn't have allowed my faith to waver.

After the Walk for Payne, I drove to North Carolina for Thanksgiving. We're in Jacksonville, home to Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base, right on the coast. It's as flat as any place I've ever run. So I decided I'd head out on a 5 mile walk the day after I arrived and see how the knee felt afterward.

But when I started, I chose to start with a few running steps just to see what how bad it would be. It was only two days since I'd tried it at the school, so I wasn't expecting much.

Surprisingly, the first few steps came without pain. There was a little, nagging feeling there, one that couldn't even really be called an ache, but just a feeling that reminded me I'd been injured.

So I kept running, slowly, but running still. Those few steps turned into three miles! My first run in 3 weeks and 2 days. It was slow, without a doubt, much slower than I was running before my injury, but 3 miles nonetheless. I felt elated and walked another 2 miles back to the car.

It was now only 12 days from St. Jude, so I decided to push things a little. I planned to try and run 4 miles the next day, yesterday. Again, I strapped on my knee brace and stepped off. The first 3 miles felt better than the day before, but the 4th mile was a little tougher, even at my new, slower pace. Still, I ran the entire 4 miles and walked another 2.

The unexpected improvement was encouraging and I decided to try and run 5 miles this morning. Once again, success, this time even more that I hoped for. I managed better than a 10 minute pace for the 5 mile run, much better than the first two days. My 3rd mile was actually at a 9:03 pace!

Now I wouldn't have been excited about finishing a mile around a 9 minute pace a few weeks ago, but I was thrilled to hear the beep of my Garmin and look down to see it staring back at me with 9:03 on its face. Thrilled!

I walked the next two miles, making plans to push a 6 mile run tomorrow. I'm writing this without pain in my knee, not even a little bit, so I feel pretty confident the Lord has brought me back, back where He wants me.

Six miles is a long way from 26.2, but I have complete confidence that Jesus will carry me the distance. I've just got to continue to hope in the Lord...and run!

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

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