Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ten Glorious miles

Last weekend, I completed only my third 10 plus mile run in my life. I still had the lasting impression of last year's ten mile run just before my first half marathon. Both were terrible experiences, during which I wished myself dead rather than finish the last mile. My body ached, my hips felt like they might possibly rip completely apart like a wishbone from a thanksgiving turkey, and everything from my knees down had been numb for the last few miles. I anticipated the same kind of experience this time, so I took my time getting started. I "worked the crowd", meandering around making small talk with people, and taking an extra long time stretching. I sort of felt like the older gentleman at my gym, who spends more time stretching ON TOP of the treadmill (which baffles me-aren't there better places to stretch???), than actually using it. All the while, he is wearing his college track team shirt, shorts that are shorter than I would dare to wear, and tall stripy knee socks. For fear of turning into Mr. Elderly track star, I bit the bullet and got started.
I had a plan this time, though. I would take intermittent walk breaks every half mile or so for one minute at a time, and run it slow and steady. I would suck down sport gels in strategic intervals, so that I could keep my electrolytes replenished, and no matter what, I would NOT give in to the "you're weak and frail, and shouldn't even attempt this" thoughts.

I began with my mp3 player on, but oddly, only the Christian music station on Pandora was getting a signal. Fine enough, I could do this without the Black Eyed Peas and Eminem this time...I hoped. But, as I ran and listened to songs with lyrics reminding me of the power and faithfulness of God, I was energized. I ran right through my first three planned walk breaks, and made myself take the next one, feeling as if I was actually holding back. Odd for me, since I normally have to repeatedly remind myself that I am not going to die from lack of oxygen as I clop down the road like a clydesdale, huffing, puffing, and gasping all the way. I actually felt light and full of bounce.

I made it to the 5 mile point, and turned back, stopping to stretch and refill my water bottle. I was asked by someone how I was doing, which made me realize I was actually feeling fantastic. This was turning out to be the best run I had ever completed.

I decided to turn off my mp3 player and listen to the silence. (Silence is rare for my ears, since I have two active, boisterous kiddos under 5, but I thought maybe I should remind my ears of this long forgotten elusive thing called silence ). It was nice, just hearing my footsteps for the next couple of miles.

My goal had been 2 hours and 15 minutes, which would be a stretch for me, since I knew this same distance had taken me almost three hours last year. Beyond that, there was a likely chance that I had put my muscles through so much with all of this running over the last year that they had broken down and been unable to rebuild. Still, I refused to believe that, and set my goal at 2 hours, 15 minutes...firm....sort of. I had a backup goal of 2 hours, 20 minutes, in case I needed it, and then I could still say I met my goal. Goofy, I know.

As I realized that I was now in the last mile of the ten, I looked down at my watch to see that less than 2 hours had passed. I checked again, assuming I had read it incorrectly. There was no way I was going to beat my goal by that much! I looked down again a few minutes later. 2 hours, 5 minutes. What? If I had gotten this much faster, that had to mean that I had gained muscle in my body, and lots of it. I knew that my body had changed throughout the last year, and even firmed up significantly, but I also knew what medical professionals tell me is likely to happen.

Approaching the stoplight that marked the completion of my tenth mile, I began to cry. Huff, puff, step, cry, whisper, "thank you, God", repeat. That is what it sounded like for the last block of my run. I stopped at the corner, lifted my arm and grunted a "Yes!", not even caring that cars were actually stopped at the light, watching me. Tears were coming down my face, and I didn't mind that they thought I had lost my marbles. I was just understanding what was happening in my body- the result of God's miraculous work. My persistence and unwillingness to accept that my muscles will waste away had paid off, and here was my proof.

2 hours, and 7 minutes is what it took for me to complete that ten mile run, and the extraordinary thing is that I did NOT feel like I had been hit by a truck this time. In fact, I went home, walked in the door, and played with my kids the rest of the day. I felt completely bad to the bone! I had come so far in the last year, and am still overwhelmed with gratitude for the miraculous steps of progress I see in my body everyday. This is all quite improbable, except that I believe in the One who makes the improbable Probable!


  1. Girl...Girl...Girl, I'm crying as I am reading this. You are fearfully and wonderfully made w/o a doubt and good for you to have the audasity to believe the Word of the Lord instead of the word of the Drs. I pray that Drs. take a "headsup" look at what you have accomplished this last year and the difference that it has made in your muscles and in your life. Never give up and never quit...YOU ARE DEFINITELY RUNNING A RACE, but I believe you are running a race that envelopes a lot more people than just yourself.
    I love ya girl,

  2. Thanks so much for your encouragement! It means a lot to me!!