Monday, September 9, 2013

Running toward the Goal

Yesterday was the day I was supposed to conquer a big goal—cross another item off my bucket list. However, sometimes when we plan out our agenda for the next couple months of our lives, it doesn’t always go as planned. I’ve learned that lesson more than I would like within the last couple months. Back in June, I ran my first 10k race and decided that perhaps, I could finally motivate myself enough to train for a half-marathon. I’ve always been content with running my usual four miles and pat myself on the back when I go further. However, I’ve never really felt a big gravitation towards half- or full-marathons. When a couple of my friends mentioned running a half-marathon together in September, I asked myself, “Why not?” I had always done well with road races in the past, why couldn’t I push myself a little harder to achieve this distance? So I trained more seriously for the event after my 10K in June. However, running didn’t seem to come as easily for me as it had previous summers. I often experienced stomach pain that caused me to either walk during my runs or cut my runs short. Other times, I would feel so lightheaded that I could not run the distances that I had planned for that day.

 I was so frustrated with myself. Why now? Why was my body being so uncooperative now that I had finally committed myself to this event?

Finally, after visiting with a physician, I discovered that I had a gastric ulcer and my already low hemoglobin was now at a 9 (normal range is 12-16). In fact, I was later told by a family friend in the medical field that you can start getting blood transfusions at a Hgb of 8. I guess the combination wasn’t so great for half-marathon training. I decided not to let either interfere with my goal. The medication I received for my ulcer was working, and I had always had low iron, so why should I be effected now? 

However, just a couple weeks before the day I would be competing, I trekked out for a 10-mile run. It was a perfect summer morning. While the conditions may have been perfect, I felt lightheaded throughout the run. After I had finished the run, I worked on my practicum hours with a registered dietitian. As we were cutting fruit for a salad, I got the “I’m going to pass out feeling.” (Unfortunately, I’ve had this feeling a few too many times with bad results.) Luckily, I caught myself before actually fainting, but I definitely was not feeling like myself. After talking with my mom about the situation and embarrassment, she was very uneasy about me running the race, to say the least. So, after talking with my physician again, it was decided that this is just not my time in life for this particular goal.

Have you ever had that happen? You have your mind set on a goal, but then something interferes and you realize that it is just not your time. However, there is one thing I have learned from this discouragement—just let go and focus on the real goal. I received a bookmark once with a runner on the front and the Bible verse of Philippians 3:12-24. Upon first looking at it, you might think that it is an encouraging bookmark about persisting through a long run. However, after examining more closely, you realize that the goal is much different—the goal is eternal life. The verse says, “The prize is what God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done.” I, like most people, have a difficult time remember that our life here, on earth, is only temporary. In fact, God has much bigger and better plans for us. 

I woke up yesterday morning and thought of all of the people achieving their goals at the race while I lay lazily in bed and I admit I was pretty bummed. I felt like a failure for not making it through my goal. However, after I went through a devotion for that day, I was so perfectly reminded of what the real goal is in this life. 

Do not be discouraged friends, through whatever you are going through. Remember, we have so much to look forward to.

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