Sunday, August 16, 2009

Angels Were Dispatched...Over Six Miles...

There's a movie that came out this past Friday, called Bandslam. It's another teen flick that's had the daylights advertised out of it. Being that we now have an 8 yr old who has officially (according to him) graduated from "baby TV" like Noggin (sniff...sniff...not ready for all this growing up...), we watch alot of Cartoon Network and Disney Channel now, and are bombarded with the onslaught of the kid-directed commercials.

The movie looks decent enough, I think it's a big ploy to pull a couple of the Disney Dream Team kids out of their squeaky-clean images and attempt to age them some (God love the High School Musical chick, she's always going to be Gabriella to everyone...not a bad thing considering the amount of bank she had to have made from those movies and merch...)

I digress....there's one part of the commercial that ran last week that has stuck with me. The premise of the movie is about kids who don't really belong to one particular clique in school, more like they're misfits/eccelctic/eccentric of sorts (alot like me!), and they start a band. It shows snippets in the commercial about what they go through, and one of the characters tells another to "always do the thing that scares you the most."

Always do the thing that scares you the most...I lived that in person yesterday morning.

I hate to fail. Period. I have always been competetive, I have always like to strive to do my best. Don't know where I get it from (though I know I get my perfectionism from my mom.) But I have been this way since grade school, and it's never left. I've always seen it as a good thing---it helped me to accel in my high school activities, it helped me gain enough scholarships and grants to graduate from college owing nothing, it helped me to find my first job post college. But I'm finding out I am my own worst enemy at times because of this drive...

Our running group was scheduled to run this past Saturday morning six miles. This would be my first time ever to run six consecutive miles. We train during the week according to the schedule set for us, and come together as a group on the weekends. This would normally be no big deal, we do this EVERY Saturday...but I've been gone most of the summer. I've done a good effort of trying to keep up with the schedule when I was in NYC...and CA...and in Waco or wherever else I've been. We just returned from an amazing trip to the Carribean, and despite having worked out on our trip, I felt pretty out of running. I ran last week for the first time, home for good, according to schedule and struggled every day. The heat is sapping the life out of me, even at 7am when I run post boot camp. I'm cramping in my legs, and the humidity makes me feel like someone's sitting on my chest while I try to pace my breathing.

As we got closer to Saturday, my anxiety began to build. What if I couldn't run the six miles??? What if I got two miles in and my asthma acted up? Would my coaches think I was a loser, too fat to be out there, was I wasting their time? What if I got down the road and couldn't go anymore--my cell phone's too bulky to carry, how would I make it back? Would I be the embarrassment of the group and run alone in the back? It was as if there was a demon sitting on my shoulder whispering in my ear, "you can't do it...."

I decided that I would try to set myself up for as much success as I could for the run. I ate a good meal Friday night, I went to bed before 10pm. I didn't go to boot camp on Friday, to let my legs rest so that I wouldn't aggravate my hip that gives me problems sometimes, or mess with my never-ending neck issues. So far, so good...

I woke up several times during the night on Friday, and realized I was dreading the 5am alarm. The night couldn't go slow enough for me. At 4:55am, I just got up, no point in just staring at the clock. I got dressed in my usual gear, threw on a hat, grabbed my water bottle and headed out the door.

The drive to the run had to look hysterical to someone else looking in. As soon as I pulled out of the driveway, I started, sobbing's the better word. I was terrified, I guess that I couldn't do it, that I'd fail. I turned on music, and started to pray outloud that God would run with me on this run, that I needed Him more than ever, RIGHT NOW. I can only imagine what someone would have thought of me if they had listened to me praying to tell the demon to get out, that I WOULD do this...I was a complete nut case at this point.

I kept thinking about that the thing that scares you the most...well, ok, here I go!

Got to the run and was greeted by coach Angie. I had expressed on Friday that I was worried, and she assured me nothing to be worried about...not so much doing so that morning, I'd already been sick once before I got there. She again assured me we would finish. I panicked when I remembered Kristi was out of town--ACK! my running buddy wouldn't be there!!! We warmed up and stretched, met as a team, and headed out for the run. I usually wait for the mass of the group to get out front, so I'm not in anyone's way, I am not the fastest runner out there. All I knew to do at this point was put one foot in front of the other and go...

The good thing about starting to run at 6am is that it's dark. You're still sleepy and you're asking your body to get it in gear, quickly. Everyone's just rolled out of bed and put on whatever is grabbed, so we're all looking a little worse for the wear. At 6am, you're completely forcused on yourself and just getting your joints to stop aching, the bones to stop cracking, and the muscles to get warm. So as I began in the dark, the reality set in that no one was watching me, or paying attention to me except coaches to just keep an eye on who was where.

The first mile and a half are usually rough. You have to get yourself to get it moving, and once you can get over this your body warms up and resigns itself to this "torture" you're going to make it endure. As we reached the water stop at 1 1/2 miles, I realized that I'd run it with no issues, no stopping! Who hoo, a big praise went out then! I walked long enough to drink and catch my breath, and met up with coach Lea Ann and friend Kristin, who I had worked out with in the BGO program last spring. We began to talk as we got ready to start running again, and I discovered that they had both returned from completing the Chicago Half! I was excited to learn Kristin had finished her run in 2:47--WOW!!!! She talked about her challenges, how she had ran and walked, and her experiences with the race itself. As I asked hundreds of questions, I began to realize that this was going to be a doable feat, everyone on the course from her description seemed to be runners like us! I was seeing I was setting myself up for failure with unrealistic expectations--the tiniest of the running population consists of the speed demons who complete races in times that make you look twice---when everyone else out there running was doing the best they could, like me.

We talked the rest of the run back about challenges with running in this Godforsaken heat, our weight, our families, our home repairs.....and before I knew it, WE WERE BACK TO THE STORE! I HAD RUN SIX MILES!!!!!

When I returned home, it dawned on me that my prayers had been answered in the form of angels. When I desperately needed support that I would get through something that was scaring me the most, He sent friends to carry me through.

So thank you Lea Ann and Kristin, for being there when I needed you most, even though you didn't know it...

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