One of the things I truly enjoyed about writing RTL was how I tried to incorporate personal stories throughout the chapters. It was not a book with a theme of, “This is the way to do it” rather, I approached it from the vantage point of, “Through my running this is what I experienced.” As a result of that two years after publishing the book, I have continued to encounter the different emotions written uncovered in RTL. Recently I have found myself coming back to the twelfth chapter which is all about trust. Within that chapter I wrote about the way in which we must trust our training and trust God throughout the situations life throws at us. I have recently been reminded of my need to trust in regard to both of those situations.
This past week I have been quite ill. It started over the weekend and by Monday, I had to leave work early for the first time in almost four years! It took a lot of pain and discomfort for me to finally waive the white flag and return home after a few hours at work. After getting home I took a few dosages of medicine and proceeded to sleep for roughly 18 hours, my body clearly needing the rest to fight off the sickness. As a result of the sickness I have not gone for a run in a week. I am within seven weeks of my next marathon and this week was supposed to be one of the highest mileage of my entire training – but I knew there was no way my body would find any benefit from running. My mind wanted to run, but my body was disallowing it. Throughout the week I have seen my frustration grow and my worry increase. Will this one week disrupt an otherwise really good time of training? Will I be able to fully recover with the time left before the race? Will my goals run away from me while I am forced to stay on the couch and recover? But, it’s about trust. I need to trust my training. Trust the miles that have already been run. Trust the determination that has brought me to this point. Trust the training.
In life, I have many big life decisions that lie ahead. When will I know the path I am to take? When will the door be opened? How do I know if I am making the right decision? Trust God. God has never let me down thus far and he will not start doing so now. The God who cares about lavishing me with undeserved grace, also cares about the worries of my life. I am not insignificant to him. I must trust in his goodness, his faithfulness and his character.
There is generally very little thought that goes into what shirt I will wear when I head out for a run. I basically ask myself two questions, Is it going to keep me warm enough? Is it clean? The first needs to be a yes, the second can go either way. However recently I have found myself purposefully selecting shirts I received from a previous marathon for one simple reason, when I run I can see my reflection.
Due to sub-par temperatures and conditions (translation: I’m turning into a wimp) the majority of my runs have been on a treadmill. I quickly found it was annoying to turn on the TV in front of the treadmill, so I always turn it off. After doing this, I noticed I could see my reflection in the TV screen – however, it is basically only my chest I can see. With that in mind recently I have chosen shirts from previous marathons so I can view the reflection of my shirt and see the marathon logo. As I am running I will see my reflection and it offers moments of deep thought.
I think about the past, How did I run during the marathon on my shirt, and how am I currently running compared to the marathon on my shirt? I look at my shirt and think about the present, how am I doing in my training right now? I think about the future, how will my current day’s training preparing me for my next race and the next shirt I will get? My reflection also gives me a little bit of competition as I sit there and ask, “Am I proud of the way I am running?” It has also provided me with a question to answer once I am off the treadmill, “Am I proud of the way I am living my life?”
After my fifth marathon last year I knew it was time for a break. My body needed it after I asked it to tally more than 1,500 miles in a matter of eleven months. But even more than my body needing rest, my mind needed rest. From January 1, 2014 I committed to training harder than I had ever trained before, and the work paid off. In 2014 I tallied my greatest number of miles, most marathons in a year, and even set a PR in two different marathons. So by the end of marathon number five, my mind needed a break.
As the year has gotten underway I have once again begun training for more marathons. The six-week break from training proved immensely beneficial as I have found a renewed sense of energy and passion in my training. I have been able to train hard, and train often. Three weeks into the year and I feel as though I have caught a great running groove. It took me a little while to get my legs back under me – but I once again had the mental determination to fight for the results I want. At times resting is a part of training, and the six weeks of ‘training’ I took at the end of 2014 were very much needed, and appreciated.
I did fairly well in updating my numbers on the 1st of every month, but as the new year rolled around, I neglected to update my numbers. Below are the final numbers for 2014
1. I sold a total of 83 books. A bit short of my goal, but I ran into a lot of problems in the first three months of 2014 with my publisher. I am still thankful every time one book gets sold so I am not at all frustrated by not reaching this goal.
2. Only 10 shirts were sold throughout the year. The idea never really took off and there is nothing wrong with that. I did wear the shirt for the final three marathons I did, so I am thankful I had a shirt to wear in all those races.
3. 1,511 miles in 2014. I surpassed my goal by quite a bit and even tallied a total of 11 miles in the final six weeks of 2014. I took a long break at the end of the year to give my mind, body, and legs a break. It was a great time of rest, and I think well deserved.
4. I ran a total of five marathons in 2014! I added the fifth in late November because I was feeling good and wanted to get one more in without having to train. Quite a few races in 2014, but I thoroughly enjoyed each and every one.
5. My fastest race of the year was a 3:15:46 and my slowest was a 3:22:00 – having five races all that close together is evidence of a great year of consistent running.
As 2014 came to a close, I looked back with nothing but joy in everything that was accomplished and all I learned from the year.