So today’s post is especially for Halloween. Halloween is great for runners for a lot of reasons. Halloween candy for carb loading, an excuse to feel a little less self conscious when wearing runners tights or short shorts, and of course all the different cool costume themed races. I get to participate in one of these awesome runs on Saturday, The Just Cuz Half Marathon. In my case you get to scratch out the HALF in that title. Yep, a full marathon and guess what? I’m going to make a little confession. I’m scared… Not a lot scared, just a little scared. But hey it’s Halloween so it’s okay to be scared. Over the past few weeks as I’ve continued to prepare for this marathon I’ve had a whole gamut of emotions running through my head. I am very excited but I’m also pessimisticly optimistic (which I think translates to optessimistic) about running the full 26miles 385 yards. Don’t get me wrong, I know I can do it, but can I do it?
A little over a month ago I did a little bit of trail running on some nice steep hills and in the process exercised my left knee in a new and wonderful way in which it’s never been exercised before. The problem is, it hasn’t quite recovered yet. It’s improved quite a bit and I’ve met with a chiropractor and a physical therapist. But sometimes when I run I feel that little twinge of pain start to come back and I worry. So here I am 3 days before one of the hardest things that I’ve ever done, and my mind goes from absolute excitement, to nervousness about the distance, to confidence and back to worries about my knee.
So how do I ignore these worries, or is it possible that maybe I can harness these nerves, this fear I feel, and use it, and if I can Then how do I do so?
Let me tell you a spooky Halloween story… I listened to a radio program yesterday where someone spoke about a recurring dream they had. In this dream they woke up in the middle of the night, and paced aimlessly through their house. Suddenly they felt an apprehension, like the walls were closing in. They looked out a window and saw a face looking in at them. Eventually this “face” at the window broke into their house and began fighting with them. This person had this recurring dream for over 20 years. Finally they decided to do something about it. They began to focus during this dream, trying to take control of it. Finally one night it happened, they had the same dream. In the dream they went through the same scenario of waking up and seeing the face at the window, and then this time instead of waiting for the person to break in they went and opened the door. When the person came in instead of fighting them they just stood and waited. After a few moments the person pulled out a gun and pointed it at them, waited and then began firing shots right at the dreamers chest, but… In the dream the person looked down and slowly realized that the bullets were doing nothing. He said that, ” I felt like Neo, or Superman” and “I realized that I was invincible, he couldn’t touch me.” From that time on he never again had the dream, he had conquered it.
Is it the same for us? Do we sometimes stand there and wait for our fears to do us in, only to find out we are stronger then they are? That after we are hit by what we thought might kill us we remain standing and realize we are stronger than whatever might come at us? Easy for me to say, my biggest worry is whether I can run up a couple hills and back down to where I started from. A lot of others have a lot worse to worry about than that. But the point is, whatever life throws at us we can be stronger. And we may encounter things that scare us, hurt us, and test us in ways we that we may think that there’s no way we’ll make it through, but… We are stronger than that. Or let me rephrase, we are Made to be stronger than that. We are not made to fear, we are made to Hope and to Love. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2nd Timothy 1:7)
So, yeah 3 days. Halloween is officially over in about 20 minutes and I no longer have an excuse to be scared. I have been blessed with this wonderful talent of running, doing things I’ve never dreamed of, and hey, if my knee chooses to yell at me or give out on me, big deal. I will do my best I will fight a good fight, and I darn well am going to earn that piece of peanut butter pie that will be waiting for me Saturday night.