On the 4th of July, we were up at Lake Ann Baptist Camp near Traverse City visiting my parents for the weekend. My sister also came up for the holiday weekend. The 4th was on a Monday and started the second week of my new 8-week running schedule. This week I was to double my running time in each segment and cut my walking segments in half, going from running for one minute and walking for two to running for two minutes and walking for one minute ten times.
I was very nervous about this. I wasn’t sure I could double my running time after only a couple weeks of doing this (one week without the schedule and one week with it so far). And I was going to run with Vicki, who has been running for a long time now and was training for a half marathon at the time. She said she would just go at my pace though. She’s nice that way. :O)
So, I set up my segments on Run Keeper and we set out. I got through the first running segment – barely. Then the walking segment, at only a minute, went really fast. On the second running segment, I had to start walking toward the end of it. My lungs were about to give out on me and I just couldn’t take these longer segments. It was too much.
Vicki was great! She told me that if I can’t do two minute segements yet, don’t do it. She told me to find a different schedule that would be better for me. So , that day I ran when I could, and when I couldn’t we just walked fast. That day, I really understood that I need to go at my own pace, not the pace that someone else has set for me.
When I got home, I redid the schedule and made it into something that would be more gradual. Instead of two minute segments for the rest of the week, I did one minute and fifteen second segments and kept my two minutes of walking in between. I needed the recovery time. I learned that shouldn’t let other people tell me what pace I should be keeping, how fast I should be running, or how long. I realized that this was about me and God and no one else. This was going to be a discipline in setting the right pace, listening to my body, and listening to the Holy Spirit. That’s the most important thing – in running and in life. Not trying to please man or hurt myself trying to accomplish my own goals, but pleasing God and following his lead. Let him set the course, the pace (which can seem very slow in life at times), and the goals. Life is so much more rewarding and less stressful when we give it all to him.
As I worked on adding in more running time into my intervals over the next several weeks, my lungs got more and more accustomed to running. I started to come back from my run and not collapse in exhaustion. In fact, I was able to recovery faster and faster.
I’ve always experienced my asthmatic breathing when I exercise – my whole life. In fact, at times I would exercise with someone who had full-blown asthma and my body and lungs would react the same way theirs did. I started to get curious about this in these last few months. I don’t experience asthma when I’m not exercising, so Iwas confused as to why I would have these symptoms only when I exhert myself and not all the time. I’ve never been diagnosed with asthma, except when I was a baby and my parents were told I would outgrow it. So I did some research on the subject and found a lot of info on “exercise induced asthma.” I found a great article on it here: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/exercise-induced_asthma/page2_em.htm
It’s a good thing I didn’t know about this when I started. I might have used it as an excuse to not start running because in the article it clearly states that running is not recommended for people who have this. But, as I’m running this summer and fall, thinking about my lungs, thinking about the fact that I shouldn’t be able to do this, it overwhelms me that God asked me to take up this discipline. God wanted to show me that nothing is impossible with him. He wanted to show me that I can do anything he asks me to do because he will equip me, he will train me, and he will do it at his pace and in his way. As I am running through my beautiful neighborhood, dodging sprinklers and falling acorns (or thrown acorns from rascally squirrels), I am a moving picture of God’s strength in my weakness. It’s an almost daily object lesson for me that I can do so much more than I think I can. I’m out there in my weakness, and God is showing himself strong.
This seems to be God’s favorite way to work through people. He takes their weaknesses and uses them for his glory. God has given me the confidence that he can use any of my weaknesses for his glory. If he can turn me into a runner, he can turn me into anything. Whatever it is that God wants me to do, I know it will be him doing it. He has given me the confidence to say that I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me. Anything, that is, that God calls me to do.