Redemptive pain

I really hate it when I feel pain in my posterior and I look around, only to find it’s my words that are biting me in the rear. Happens more often than I would like.

Some of you may remember after my last race that my man offered to take on my run training. You can read the full race recap here , but the short version is that I did not meet my very conservative time goal. And, I missed it by two minutes. TWO MINUTES!!!! My man, who had driven down to the race to surprise me, got to listen to me moan and groan while he drove me to Starbucks for my celebration drink. He listened in silence until I had my mouth full of hot coffee and was finally quiet, then he offered his wisdom. “You know why you didn’t make your goal, don’t you? You don’t push yourself hard enough.” Really not what I wanted to hear; but truth, nevertheless. In subsequent conversations, we came up with some new goals and he offered to coach me to them. Now, I learned a long time ago that running together is really not the best thing for our marriage. But, I also learned a long time ago that his competitive edge is much sharper than mine. I’m more inclined to stop and smell the roses than to run for the roses, so we agreed.

We are now three months in, and so far, we’ve worked together fairly well. He’s a little hard of hearing, so he can’t usually hear some of the things I call him as we run, and I’m slowly learning to push myself a little harder than I really want to.

Take yesterday’s long run, for example. We were only going for seven, so we got started about 6 am. We set off at what I felt was too fast a pace, but Gary pushed us forward, keeping us a little faster than the 12 minute mile pace which is the first goal we’ve set for me. I wanted to go a little slower to start so that I would still have steam at the end to really push the last half mile, but I matched his pace, and on we ran. The last mile, we picked up the pace some, then at a half mile from the end, we pushed a little more. At the quarter mile mark, we (or I – for Gary this is a very easy pace) pushed as hard as we could to finish the last mile at an 11 minute pace. As we headed to that last push, I complained to Gary that if he hadn’t pushed me so hard on the first mile, I would have more steam for the finish. And that’s when my words came back to haunt me. He said, “It’s all in your mind.” Geez. I hate when that happens.

Don’t tell him I said this, but he’s right. The truth is, I can easily push a 12 minute pace at this point, especially on a seven miler. I could probably do it faster than that, but my mind keeps holding me back. The bottom line is, if I want to get faster, I need to run faster. It’s as simple as that. The trouble with that is that it hurts to run faster.

One of the cool things about running is the way the lessons learned in training/racing mimic life’s lessons. You get out of life exactly what you put into it. Coast along and your life will never improve; keep doing what you always did, and you’ll get what you always got. If you want your business to succeed, you work hard, long hours; you don’t quit when it gets tough; you push through the rough spots. The same with marriage and relationships. You don’t quit when it gets hard, you buckle down and ride it out.

We had a couple speak at church last night who shared the trials of their marriage and how they weathered the storm. One of the passages of scripture she shared was so applicable to all areas of life, including running, that I wanted to offer it here.

But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. Hebrews 12: 10b-11

Spot on, right? Discipline is painful. Stretching yourself to meet new goals is painful. Fun, exciting, rewarding – but painful. Redemptive pain. Pain that has a reward at the end.

My goal for this year has been very simple. Lose the weight and prepare myself for next year, when I’m going to attempt to run farther and faster than I ever have. Yes, I’ll be another year older. So what? I believe that I can keep on improving throughout my life. Every race won’t be a PR, but every run, every step, will bring me closer to being the me that I desire to be. The best that God has planned for me. He wants that for me, why shouldn’t I?

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2 thoughts on “Redemptive pain

  1. rxnickrun says:

    Thanks for sharing that verse which is so powerful and true in many areas of our life. Keep up the great work!

  2. Randy says:

    Very true! Thanks I enjoyed that. I have been gradually learning the same things about pushing yourself. I am glad to see I am on the same page with what other folks are discovering.

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