Wipeout!

Today was a first for me: Wiping out while running.

I started running March 15, 2010. I’ve ran in blizzards, pouring rain, 30 mph gusts of wind, lightening (wouldn’t recommend it),100* weather, and on ice covered roads. I trained for and completed my first marathon last fall. And never fell. Until now.

I have a running buddy for short runs, ranging from one to four miles. My dog. She’s a very good running partner. If I need her to pay more attention to me, all I need to do is give one click with my tongue. We have passed many animals on our runs, most frequently other dogs. And things have always been fine. But today was different.

You would think I would fall on a day with any of the weather conditions above, or on a long run. But today was a perfect running day–sunny and 60*–and we were only doing a mile. We hit the halfway point, and were headed home. We were making decent time up a hill when I saw a guy with his dog at the top. He stepped off the trail and had his dog sit, waiting for us to pass. I smiled and nodded thanks. Right as we started to pass, his dog lunged at my dog. My dog freaked out and slammed into my legs. Unfortunately the first leg she slammed into was my down-stride. And she proceeded to pass in front of me, keeping my up-stride from ever reaching the ground. My feet flew up behind me, I landed on my hands, and rolled over onto my back. I lay there for a second, the air knocked out of me. My dog bewildered. The guy asking if I was okay, if there was anything he could do, apologizing, saying he didn’t know why his dog did that. I sat up, inspecting myself for injuries. I said I was going to be fine, finally convincing him to slowly move on.

Scratched up a bit...

Scratched up a bit…

I was soaking it all in, getting my bearings. Never falling for over three years, on such a glorious day for a run, why did I have to wipe out? Sometimes that’s just the way things go. Outside forces we can’t control…. on days we least expect it….. Just like other trip-ups in life. We may be going along in life thinking everything’s sunny; nothing will get us down. Then something happens we don’t expect; our feet are knocked out from under us, and we find ourselves staring up from the ground. What are we going to choose to do next?

After discovering one of my knees will be developing a nice bruise, and my hands were nicely torn up, I gave thanks that was all that was damaged. I checked in with my dog to make sure she was okay. She was. I stood, walked to the curb, crossed the street, and started running.

After being knocked down in life, we may not be able to start “running” again right away. But, I have found that when I look to my God, he enables me to get up and move forward. I continued on today. Don’t forget that you can too.

You are defined in life by the way you respond to defeat.

Do you ever reach a point where you don’t want to pick yourself up, and try again? How tempting is it to just pause for a moment…..and think, if only? If only I didn’t have to go on. If only I didn’t have to face that fear again. If only I didn’t have to face that hurt again. If only…

That mental struggle, when facing life’s challenges and disappointments, is one of the reasons I love physical challenges. And one of the reasons I love this video I found on YouTube:

Last Saturday I ran sixteen miles, in rain. That is the farthest I have ever gone. And I learned that running in a steady rain for three and a half hours can feel very different from running a rainy 5k. By the time I had gone four miles, my shoes had become sponges. Long before I was done, every part of me was drenched. Because of the weather, I unintentionally tensed my muscles the entire way. I always leave an extra mile at the end of my long runs, to cool down with a walk. As soon as I started walking, pain shot through my entire body. It felt like metal rods were going straight through my legs from every direction. And I was very cold. I hate to admit it, but I whimpered home.

Now why do I love physical challenges? Two reasons.

First, the physical challenge reminds me if I can make it through, I can make it through challenges in other areas of my life. It reminds me we are much more flexible and stronger than we think we are. Second, persevering through physical challenges toughens me up for future situations or events, like races. It enables me to feel better as I attack those future challenges. The same applies to other areas of life. If we grow through life’s challenges and disappointments, we can better handle what life will throw at us in the future.

I attribute persevering through difficulties, in both running and life, to a relationship with God. I know if he was not in my life, I would not have gone on.