Saturday, January 30, 2016

That time I thought I was Invincible

The title of this post should probably be "that time I thought I was REALLY invincible" because let's be honest, I think I'm invincible every day...

This is the hardest thing I've ever had to write, so will you please pause for a second and open your heart while I get vulnerable?

Wait, let me get a joke out first... Cassadee Pope may be invincible, but I am not. And I sang her song one too many times, because, dang, did I think I was invincible. Not invisible. I'm pretty good at that. My specialty is hiding. You didn't know I was a super hero? Yes I am. But my power is invisibility, not invincibility. And there's a HUGE difference.

Okay. I'm done. Now lets get real.

There is very little chance that I will be running the half marathon in April. The one that I'm registered for. The one that I've been training for. And by "very little chance" I mean, if I end up running it, it will literally be by the grace of God. Literally. I don't want to say that I won't be running it, but I'm pretty sure it's off the table. And I have gone through every emotion associated with that statement. Every emotion. I am sad. I am disappointed. I am frustrated. I am embarrassed. I am humiliated. I am thankful. I am angry. I feel like a failure. I feel like everything I do from here on out is going to fail. I am hopeful. I am filled with peace.

I present to you my Friday, my Saturday, and every day in the foreseeable future:

Let me explain. On Thursday, I had scheduled a run after work. So I got ready and drove myself out to the trail. I started walking, and then started running. I made it an entire 3 minutes before completely stopping running. My right knee hurt. And it wasn't one of those, my knee hurts because I'm running, putting stress on it, working it out, and it'll go away in a few minutes kind of "hurt." This was a "you can't do this" hurt. So I stopped. Still hopeful. I walked a bit and then started running again. This time I made it .3 seconds. I was down and out.

Being the stubborn person that I am though, I kept walking. I walked my route. I "ran" a few times. (Aka: went through the motions of running, but really I was inching along at basically the same pace I was walking.) For 30 seconds. And then kept walking. Defeated. Completely defeated. Walking back in the freezing cold. Dressed to be running. Watching other runners go by. I was about a minute away from my car, a minute away from tears, when I saw a guy running my way. Usually, runners don't look at you. They're focused. (Or just don't want to look at you.) He smiled at me. And it took everything in my to force a smile back. Because I wanted to cry so bad. I knew this was not one of those injuries you bounce back from a week later.

I needed to get some groceries and was right by Target, so I stopped and let me tell you, it took EVERYTHING in me to not buy myself a pizza. To not drown myself in bad food. To not do some major retail therapy. And that's not really saying much, because at this point I pretty much had nothing left in me, so really it was all God helping me out. I made it back Thursday night and I don't even think I could really process what it all meant, what was all going on. I've been through Friday, and now Saturday (as I sit and write this). And I have gone through every emotion you can think of. And so while I don't have the words yet, and still really can't understand this whole thing, you get a list of all the fragmented ideas:
- This has everything to do with my knees, and yet nothing at all.
- I should have bought shoes with more cushion.
- I should have paid attention to my knees, iced them, and strengthened them.
- I should have did my knee exercises...10 years ago when I hurt my left one (not the same injury or the same knee).
- No more crossing my legs twice.
- I need to run more often, less mileage, increasing less.
- I actually DO love running. I just didn't realize it. And now I miss it terribly.
- I am so blessed to be able to workout. I GET to workout. ( this time, GOT.)
- I unknowingly made running/training/working out my #1 priority. That's wrong. God should always be #1.
- I fell into comparison. I fell into doing it for me. And thinking I could do it by myself. I can't. I am not strong enough without Him.
- I put off the things in life that matter most.
- I made THIS race an idol, putting pressure on THIS race. I WILL run a half marathon, it's just most likely not going to be THIS one. And that's okay.
- I forgot where my heart truly lies in this world, where I feel my calling is, and put running ahead.
- I was looking in the mirror analyzing my body, picking it apart. (Heck, I'm still doing this...)
- I have yet to experience disappointment like this. Any disappointment I may have had in my life was all hidden in front of people, but this was laid wide open.
- I felt like I failed and was embarrassed. I had 2 friends tell me they signed up for the same race right around this time. One a few hours before. One a few hours after. They still don't know (as I write this) because I still want to hide.
- I was in awe of what God was allowing me to do in the moment, but then forgot the enormity of it a second later.
- I grumbled about running. I talked WAY too much about how I didn't like long-distance running and how ironic that was and how I would never run another half and how I loved BBG and higher intensity workouts more. (Come to find out, I kind of love running, long-distance included.)
- I am extremely thankful that God stopped me in my tracks or allowed me to be stopped. Looking at the above list, and the list that's even longer in my heart. This was the right thing for Him to do. Had He not stopped me, I probably would have never seen it.
- I am so blessed that He is sitting with me through all of this, opening my eyes, being there, and just showing me where I went wrong.
- I am still hoping this is all in my head and I will wake up tomorrow perfectly fine and I can take what I've learned, apply it, fix my heart, and get back to running.

To sum it up, this injury was a complete storm, physically and spiritually. Physically, there are things I knew I should have done to prevent this injury. There are things I should have done in hind-sight. There are things that I was up against physically that I have absolutely no control over. Spiritually, there are things I should have recognized. There are things I see in hind-sight. And there are things (many many things) that have taken me completely by surprise.

I wrote a simplified list of take-aways:
1.) Re-prioritize. God first. Love people. THEN workouts. You shall have no other Gods.
2.) This is not a competition. You shall not covet anything of your neighbor's.
3.) SLOW DOWN. (This is aimed at life, not speed in workouts.) Be intentional. Pay attention.

I'm still processing. (Have I said that yet.) This is a big one for me. It's changing my plans and my heart. So Lord, please be patient with me. I'm trying to work this out, but I desperately need Your help because I'm just me. I AM hopeful. And I AM thankful. But I'm also still sad and disappointed.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sometimes you just need a break...I mean, God

Today is Sunday. I worked out today. I did BBG Week 15 Abs + planks and a circuit of standing ab exercises. Yesterday I did BBG Week 15 Arms. And before that, I worked out....last Sunday.

And I haven't ran for a solid 10 days.

And I'm not "scheduled" to run for another 4 days.

I KNOW. I fully remember that I'm training for a half marathon. I KNOW. But I am honestly not worried about it. I believe it was all part of the plan. His plan. I needed a break. I knew that I needed a break. But I fully under-estimated how much I needed a break.

{Insert forced break.}

Except this break was not just a physical break. I was not just physically tired. Though I was well past physically tired. I was also mentally tired. I have a LOT on my plate right now, and I got WAY overwhelmed. Like WAY past overwhelmed. And I was spiritually tired, almost empty. I was filled because of all that was going on, but the weight of everything was dragging me down and I just simply needed God. Not God's dreams. Just Him.

And so there was a snow storm. A forced break. No running. And no driving. So naturally I camped out on the floor in my living room. True statement. It was amazing. (Hi, my name is Jessica and I go with the flow and sometimes that has me doing really strange things. Like camping in my apartment.) I slept on the floor. I didn't even use a blowup air mattress. It was straight up old school, just a bunch of blankets. Just me and God and blankets. And it was exactly what I needed.

Here's some things I learned this weekend:
* All I want is God. I need time with Him. A lot of time with Him. And that's okay. We're all different.
* I won't die or get fat by taking a week-long break from working out. (Because clearly dying and getting fat are in the same category. I hope you're sensing my sarcasm...)
* I need to work on the strength in my knees. Side lunges are going to be my friend.
* I will be absolutely fine not working out for over a week while I'm in India a few weeks before the half marathon.
* I can NOT handle the weight of God's dreams. Thankfully He shoulders the weight until we're prepared. Read more here.
* I have vision and passion. And that's rare. I honestly never thought I would have that, but I think I might...
* I still need God. After all His teaching, after all the rest this weekend, I still need God. Desperately. Every second. With every breath. I need Him.

So...point is... go camp out in your living room with God. And lots of blankets. Just kidding. You don't need the blankets. =) Sometimes, when you think you need a break, you REALLY need a break. But actually, you really just needed God. And you always do.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Dare To Be You

Oh my gosh. I still can't get over this article. Go read it here. You can come back. I'll wait.

You're back. Okay. Good. Because I want to tell you exactly how true this is. I spent 27 years of my life trying to be someone else, trying to be someone who I was not created to be. I looked to everything and everyone and wanted what they had, what they were doing, their entire life. And I chased money, fame (yes, I'm admitting it), and everything in this world you can think of. (Except illegal things. I have my parents/upbringing and God to thank for that.) You name it, I wanted it. And I wanted to BE everything. I literally have a document sitting on my external hard drive entitled, "Who I Want To Be" and let me tell you, it includes about 20 different "jobs" if you will. And each of them can be pin-pointed back to a single person or shall I say..."inspiration." I wanted to have a blog (hey, look-y here!); I wanted to have a YouTube channel; I wanted to be an interior designer, and a fashion designer; I wanted to own a wedding shop, have my own clothing line. Are you starting to get the picture? I wanted to be EVERYTHING I wasn't made to be. (The blog might be an exception, though this is WAY different than what I was envisioning.)

I loved reading the part where she's says "I'm messy and loud, a hugger and a crier." I laughed and smiled so ridiculously because, well...I'm messy. I don't keep a clean house because I'm busy and it's not #1 on the priority list, so sometimes I don't clean for a few weeks. No one dies, so it's all okay. I'm not loud. That one I CAN'T relate to, but apparently I'm a hugger. Lol. Anyone who knows me is truly LOLing about that one. I "blame" my church. They're huggers. The first time I hugged someone in a scenario that I normally wouldn't, I was completely surprised by it. I remember backing away thinking, did I really just do that? Wait, what just happened? But it just happened naturally - I just did it. It flowed out of me. It's who I was created to be. (Alright, I'M still giggling at that one.) And finally, I'm a crier. I don't hold my emotions back. I used to. I'd hide it all, telling myself that I needed to be strong, afraid of what people would think or that they might see a weakness. But now, I feel everything. I let myself feel everything. When something hurts, I let it hurt. And I cry. Heck, I cry when I'm happy. I cry when I don't know what emotion I'm feeling. (Makes you want to hang out with me, right? haha) But really, it's just who I am. I'm made to feel everything, be affected by everything, hug people, and be messy(?). Okay, maybe not the last one, but you get my point.

When we fight who we are made to be, we end up unhappy and looking to everything else and everyone else to "fix" us, when all we need to do is just simply be us, be ourselves.

Yes, I know, easier said than done.

It makes me really sad when I see people playing a part. Taking someone else's rules and trying to fit themselves into their box. You know another thing I've learned about myself? I thrive in an environment that's constantly changing. Apparently I'm NOT a planner. Though I constantly TRY to be.

I'm running a half marathon at the end of April. (Like, what?!?) And I get asked what training plan I'm following. Well here's the truth. I'm not following a plan. At least not in the form of a traditional 12-week scheduled plan. My plan is to increase mileage up until the actual day. Everything in between is in God's hands. No plan. Because I know myself. If I try to follow a plan, I will completely fail. Completely. So I'm making it up. Week by week. And allowing it to change within the week, so far that I'm often changing my plan for the next day. That's my plan. The plan is, I've got no plan. That's what my mother used to say and quite frankly, I hated it. (Planner!) But I have no plan because I've seen how much better my life can be when I let go, let God be in charge, and just go with the flow. (Now I've really lost everyone who knows me...) I don't have a plan, and that's okay. I'm not following someone else's rules, and that's okay. And you know what? If I miss a Monday, that's okay. If I have a bad run, that's okay. If I only run twice in the week, (hello, last week!) that's okay. Just because a traditional plan tells me I need to be running at least 3 times a week (or more!) doesn't mean that that's the right thing for ME. I find (right now, so don't quote me because this could change tomorrow) that more resistance workouts are better for me, better for my running. I'm happier with less running. (I think I've learned I actually don't even care for long distance running. Ironic, huh.) And my body is happier with less running. And so, I'm running less, and doing restistance and higher intensity workouts more. I'm doing what is right FOR ME. I'm doing what I was created to do, being who I was created to be. (No wonder I always failed at following the infamous couch to 5k plan!)

Now I'm totally not saying, go run a half marathon and don't have a plan. Because you might be someone who needs a plan. Maybe that plan is one you've written out specifically for yourself. Or maybe it IS one of the popular training plans. Do what YOU need to do and don't do what works for everyone else, just because "it works for everyone else." Because you're not everyone. You're YOU. You're unique. Be who you were created to be. Because it's there that you will SHINE. It's there that you will see AMAZING things happen.