So, I am training for a half marathon. There. I’ve said it. It’s out there now.
I have been toying with the idea for a while. One of those turning 40 things that people seem to be doing these days. But I’ve held the idea close to me. Because you see if I tell other people, well, then I feel more accountable to go through with it. It feels more real. Not just an idea you are toying with but something you are actually planning on doing.
I have been running hit and miss since May. Not serious training, but more trying it out. But a long run in June, where I pushed myself beyond what I was ready for (a blog post for another time), had me nursing a minor injury and taking it easy the rest of June. And that’s ok because I live in the South and it’s pretty miserably hot and humid here this time of year. I picked back up exercising at the gym in July, but hadn’t really run much on the road until this month.
In the last few weeks though my running has moved from hit and miss, to more serious training, running 3-4 miles three times a week with a long run on the weekends. I had been doing my 3-4 miles in the gym because we are still in the thick of summer here. But Monday morning when I stepped outside and actually felt cool air (an oddity for our area in August!), I decide to go for a run around my neighborhood. I much prefer being outside to being at the gym any day if the weather is nice!
Since I have been working out in the gym, I felt good starting out my run Monday. I felt stronger, more power in my step than the last time I had run along my familiar route through the area around my home. I was expecting an increase in my time and pace… I hoped something was happening from all those workouts in the gym.
I am familiar with the mile markers on my run, so as I approached the 1 mile mark, I was waiting to hear my running app give me my time and pace. Then I passed the 1 mile marker and nothing. So I pulled out my phone to see where I was on my run and to my surprise it said I had only gone .8 miles and my pace was 13 minutes a mile. What?!? I started out running faster than that three months ago! What in the world was going on? This was not what I was expecting this morning. Not when I felt stronger and faster than when I started running three months ago. This was not the encouraging first mile stats I was expecting. But I kept going. In fact I started running harder to prove to my app I was running faster than 13 minutes a mile. I clocked in the 2nd mile at 10:20. Now that was more like it!
Now this route I take, it should be exactly 3 miles from the top of my street and back again, but as I made my way back to my house, I was shy the 3 miles I wanted to run, so I added an extra loop down a cul de sac to make it a full 3 miles according to my running app tracker. I ran the 3 miles in 34 minutes which is definitely a good time for me.
But I knew something had gone wrong with my app tracking me… a glitch in the matrix* or something. Because I knew this route I run. And I knew I had run more than 3 miles at a faster pace than it said. But still, it wasn’t the progress I was hoping to see running that morning. My time was good, but it wasn’t the pace I thought I had pushed past. It wasn’t the progress I was hoping to see at this point.
So fast forward to today. This morning, I decided to run the same route, to prove I was farther along than my running app said I was. I did my 3 mile running route, hitting the 1 mile markers where I expected to hit them, and you know what? This morning I ran my fastest pace yet, 10 minute miles. 3 miles in 30 minutes.
I even added the extra loop down the cul de sac to determine exactly how long I had run on Monday and I tracked 3.2 miles. There was definitely a glitch in the matrix, a stop in my cellular signal or something, because the last time I ran on Monday somehow my running app lost track of .2 miles of my run.
I am making progress!!! I am actually farther along than I even thought I was.
This has got me thinking about how I can feel this way in life. You name it, an issue I am struggling with… like thinking I am growing more content with my life and this not-what-I-would-have-planned-path that God has me on with baby #4 at 40. Then I go to a meeting with a bunch of fellow pastors who are all in a call right now and I feel small and not ok with my stay-at-home mom life all over again.
Or an emotional reaction that I can’t seem to break free from even though I am trying…. like thinking I am making progress at not yelling at my kids as my default mode of dealing with them when I am frustrated. Then I have that one bad day where the noise and the chaos and the not listening is just too much and I explode and I feel like I am not as far along in maintaining my cool with my kids as I thought I was.
I don’t know what it is for you, those places where you feel like you are making progress, you feel like you should be so far along the road and then something happens that makes you feel like you are not as far along as you thought you were. Maybe for you it’s not issues of contentment or controlling your temper. Maybe it is the struggle with an addiction. Maybe it is a relationship that you keep working at but you feel like you are never going to get to the place you want to be with this person.
Friends, even in the set backs, even in the moments where you feel like you should be at the 1 mile marker but for some reason something makes you believe you are only at .8 miles, friends believe the truth that you are actually farther along than you think you are! You are making progress simply by sticking with it. You are getting strong! Endurance is being built! You are closer to your goal than you were the day before!
And friends, just keep running. Keep working at it! Keep working at those issues, those places of emotional, spiritual, and mental growth where you are working hard to mature and make progress. Because even if you are not at the finish line, the place where you want to be, you are making progress. And you are probably farther along than you think you are.
This verse from Philippians 3 came to mind for me this week as I thought about keeping at something even when you feel like you are not as far along as you think you are.
I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.
Philippians 3:13-14 Message
Friends, keep your eye on the goal. Keep running. Don’t turn back. You are father along than you think you are. You are well on your way.
Enjoy this free printable of Philippians 3:13-14
*For those of you not familiar with the term “a glitch in the matrix” it comes from the 1999 film The Matrix and refers to an explanation for an unlikely or irregular occurrence.