So usually I start these things with "on Sunday at oh dark hundred hours, ect, ect. ect." Well this week was a little different. On Sunday, instead of running before church, AA and I slept in (does 7:15am count as sleeping in?) and then went off to run the Top Pot Doughnut 5k at Greenlake. What is better then a little fun run in the morning and free doughnuts afterwards? Well to me that day, anything would have been better. I was excited that morning as I got dressed and pinned my number on. I was excited as I visualized my time as I strapped my timing chip on. However, the minute I stepped outside I was in a bad mood. It was freezing, and on that second of that minute I was livid that it was freezing. It wasn't like this was a rare occurrence. It is always freezing when I go out to run. Not once this year have I been able to just wear shorts and a tank. Nope, layers, layers, layers.
As we started walking to the start line I looked at my Jamaican Sprinter and told him, "I quit, I quit running, I will run this race and the Kirkland 1/2 and then I am done." And I was serious. I was so mad that it was cold. I was sick of always being freezing, I was sick of always being sick, I was tired of being always being tired, I was sick of always hurting and aching. I was mad that I have to run everyday by myself, at times for more then 2 hours, nothing has ever felt so lonely. And I made the thoughtful decision that I could just quit. And yes I might let some people down, more importantly myself, but at that minute I didn't care.
That day I had an 18 mile run planned. So after the Top Pot 5k (3 miles) I was going to have AA drop me off and then was going to run the last 15 miles. That thought made me furious and probably played into my decision to quit running. But now that I had quit I didn't have to. Ha running take that, put it in your pipe and smoke it!
As we lined up for the race, I was so mad I started crying. I was freezing, my stomach didn't feel good and I hated that I had just spent X amount of money to run around Greenlake. As the horn sounded we started. I stopped crying long enough to tell my Jamaican sprinter to keep up. He has always ended runs with me, not started, and today I was mad so I had a little getty up in my step. We stayed together for 2 miles, strictly because I was sick of running by myself for all of these months. But then at mile 2 I was so mad I couldn't help but take off. I didn't even say goodbye to AA or that I was going to lengthen my stride, nope I just took off. I was running faster then I had ever ran before, yet I knew I still had a mile left. Could I run at this pace for 8 minutes? Well we were about to find out. I would spot someone and tell myself, beat her, beat him. And you know what? I would surprisingly. Then at about 1/4 mile away from the finish I felt like I was going to bonk. "No, Shelby, keep going, don't you dare bonk on me," I repeated to myself. I sprinted the last 400 yards. I was mad and this finish line was going to get the brunt of it.
After the race I said nothing, just got in the car. AA looked at me and said, "you aren't serious about quitting?" Yes I was. Never again was I going to freeze, be alone, feel sick and now know the pain that was coming during the run and worse, after. But when I got home I couldn't focus on anything. I changed from pants to shorts and left. To the gym I went, just to run 3 more miles. I climbed on to my "best friend" the treadmill and started running. Faster and faster and faster I kept running. Finally after 3.28 miles I had to stop because I felt like I was going to pass out. My feet, knees, and legs felt great. They could have kept going forever it felt like. But my head was in the wrong place.
At home I climbed into the shower and sobbed. And then I remembered Sonja's husband (remember Sonja, the ultra marathoner I follow?) saying, "you may be by yourself but you are not alone." That made me cry harder and I realized I couldn't just quit running. First I was not raised to quit. Second, the one person I follow with all of my heart, Jesus, hasn't quit on me, even when I know I seem impossible.
So yesterday I quit running. But thanks to Jesus today I will start again. I will run 7 miles after work today and then continue on my training plan. The next three weekends are full of trips, half marathons, and other goodies so running exactly to my training plan will be hard. But that's okay. I will keep going. I trust in the Lord that the freezing weather He gives me is for a reason, the pain in my body I feel after is His way of reminding me that running, as in life, isn't easy, and that when you feel the most alone is when you have to rely in Him the most.
Oh how running can bring out the glory of God. Thank you Jesus for these constant reminders.
PS...God? Can you just turn up the heater, just a little bit? Thanks.