Thursday, November 8, 2012

It All Comes Down to This..

Running for me... it's been quite a journey.

I want to share it with you guys, 
but I'm just warning you that I have a lot to say, 
and this post might be a little long! 

I began running cross country my freshman year of high school, and being the girl that always challenged boys to races in grade school pretty much guaranteed my love for the sport. 

 My memories of cross country and track during high school are wonderful. I had an incredible coach who I am still close with and the best teammates. 

But I always struggled with self confidence in running. I ran for an incredibly competitive district and had very talented teammates. I was a decent runner, but I never saw any incredible success, despite all of my hard work.

I spent a lot of time feeling bad about myself if I had a less than ideal race.... my identity was caught up way too much in my success or failure. 

My senior year, I began to think about where I would go to college. Many of the girls on my team were going off to universities to run at the collegiate level, and I had the same desire to do so. 

I never had any plans to do anything but go off to college after graduating, but I ended up being given an amazing opportunity to spend a year in Paris, France. Though it was the chance of a lifetime, I found myself struggling to choose between running and what I felt God was leading me to do. I was jealous of my friends who had "made it" in the athletic world, but ultimately, I followed God's leading to Paris. 

My first month or so in Paris, I didn't run at all. I got out of shape, but who can blame me- I was in a completely new country and exposed to a realm of brand new experiences. 

I still had dreams of being a collegiate runner one day, however, and I eventually began to train very intensely. I developed a new love for running- on days that I was stressed out because I couldn't speak French or I missed my family, running became an outlet for me. I ran all around the French countryside, and I did plenty of workouts and strength training. I wanted to run in college, and I began contacting coaches to make it  happen.

Enter Treasure Valley Community College, and my first collegiate race above. God worked everything out for me to run in college, somehow. I was given a spot and a scholarship despite the year I had taken off.  I was so nervous to see how my solo training would pay off, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that my 5k time decreased by nearly two minutes!

 I think I was mentally reset in France, and I came back in great shape and ready to compete.

I had a great freshman cross country season, and NWAACCS was everything I could have hoped for.

Little did I know, however, that I had already begun overtraining at this point. The rest of the year with running went okay, but I was slowly losing weight and pushing myself way too hard with extra practice, long weight sessions, and not nearly enough nourishment or rest.

I suppose I had a somewhat perfectionist mindset. I was the most dedicated of the dedicated. I wanted it more than anyone. I was going to push harder, drink more water, eat healthier, and lift more than anyone else. But I didn't have enough balance.

I ended track season successfully (with another All American title), but almost ready to break. I was two steps away from an injury and SO tired. But after a few weeks off, I jumped right back in to training for cross country. 

And then, this summer.... Well, this summer was a rough one for me. I haven't really shared much about it with anyone, but basically- I almost didn't run cross country. 

I went in for a physical, and my doctor was furious with me for how much weight I had lost. And I was surprised... I had no idea that I had lost that much either. I had paid little attention to my weight (except people had been telling me how skinny I looked). I just thought I was in shape, and I couldn't see how it is possible to have "too much of a good thing". It all happened in the midst of me pushing myself so hard every day. I was shocked at what the scale said.

But I was furious, too. I didn't want anyone to take running away from me. I had worked so hard.  had put in two hour runs and ran during vacation and had big dreams.

And I was scared. I was stubborn at first, but I finally recognized that I needed to take a step back and re-examine things.

So I gave it to God. I was so thankful he had helped me get that far without getting injured (I really had not been taking care of myself very well), and I was thankful that he had given me talent and allowed me to blossom in college. 

I really felt like I was supposed to run for TVCC this year still, but I had to give up my "striving" mindset and fully lay running down at his feet.

And He gave it right back to me.

Looking back, I cannot believe how much He blessed me. I got in contact with the best sport's nutritionist who has since helped me get way stronger and healthier. My coach fully understood and tailored my workouts to help me gain strength. My family came beside me and helped me and supported me.

I have run every race this season without an issue. I am healthy and don't look like I'm going to get a stress fracture anymore. And though I'm not nearly as fast as I was last year, I'm so thankful for how evident God's hand has been in my life- and my running journey.

SO here is what I have decided. I'm going to run this Saturday with an attitude of gratefulness. I'm going to run because God has blessed me so much. His grace has been so sufficient for me. And I truly believe that He has planted the desire to run and be successful at it in my heart. 

Maybe I'm just here to be a friend to the people on my team. Maybe I won't win Saturday. But I know that when God watches me run, He delights in it. Because I am doing what I was created to do 
- for His glory.

I'm not going to lie. This week has been hard, and I have felt heavy. When you allow your identity to be wrapped up in success or failure, you live in constant fear. I'm fearful of failing on Saturday. 

But I'm giving it to God. I want to run with joy. I want to run as if it were impossible to fail. Because this is just the beginning of my running journey. Because if I go out there and give everything I have... utilize the gifts He has given me and run for His glory with gratefulness... I cannot fail. I will be happy! That's true victory.

“No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”
Romans 8:37

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