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The things we love most are most often taken for granted: I hate when that happens.

When urgent matters, such as deadlines, jobs, or housework press in on us, something gets pushed aside. Our children learn to wait until mommy isn’t busy, which seems to be never. Our husbands walk the dog by themselves. Our dreams sit on the shelf collecting dust. The treadmill sprouts laundry in the basement.

We think, “Once I have time, I’ll deal with that, but not now. Not now.”

I have been neglecting just about everything I love lately, this blog, for example. I should know better than to write a post, such as the last one, where I am gung-ho about changing my life, because usually after such a high, I do a face-plant in the dirt.

It’s a pattern in my life I’d like to change.

I’ve come to realize, now that the marathon is over, this blog is becoming something more: it is a glimpse into the real life of a real person who strives to do better. And I screw up a lot.

My physical therapy has fallen by the wayside, which makes my knees hurt more, which makes me less inclined to do my exercises…

I have run exactly twice since my last blog—and each time was awesome. It was a thrill to wear my stained, smelly marathon shoes. I love those things, but I don’t get them dirty often enough these days.

I’d like to be the kind of person who ticks away steadily throughout life, but my life seems to go in jumps and spurts.

I need another marathon.

Marathon training gave me the daily self-discipline I needed—and I had no idea at the time how that translated into all areas of my life. The training made me more patient, kind, and loving. It increased my creativity, my energy, my closeness to God. I was a better mother, friend, writer and wife.

And now, I’ve fallen down again.

The good news is that I’m getting back up–I’m washing the dirt from my face and soaking my faults in stain-remover. I’m not the woman I want to be; and the only thing stopping me are the choices I make and the opportunities I overlook.

You don’t begin marathon training by running 26.2 miles. You start off almost ridiculously small, 2 or 3 miles, and increase until soon, you are running distances most people drive. But without faithfulness on the short runs, you’ll never make it through an entire race without an ambulance.

The smallest, most seemingly insignificant things matter most in the long run.

“After surgery, this is our recommendation for the progression that you should use to return to running safely.”

I re-read the handout from my physical therapist. Basically she was telling me my marathon was akin to a major surgery. Brain surgery, maybe? as one of my friends suggested.

While the neuroma on my foot has improved with a Roma therapy;) my knees are still troublesome. And it bugs me. It used to be I could run for an hour and have a great workout. Now, I am pulling against over-sized rubber bands in the basement and calling it exercise. I spent ninety minutes yesterday doing the mild-mannered activities my physical therapist recommended.

I feel like I am recovering from surgery.

My physical therapist wants to set me up with orthopedic inserts for my running shoes. I was hesitant. I told her that I wanted to actually fix the problem, so I can run pain-free. She grinned and said, “How refreshing! A patient who wants to be healthy, rather than someone looking to pop a pill!”

I don’t want a band-aid. I want to correct the problem for good, so I can run marathons with my grand-kids.

Healing my knees is going to be a long-term process. Not only do I need to develop muscle in places I usually avoid looking at, but I need heroic amounts of patience.

Every time I stretch that band, or do a lunge that could be measured in millimeters, I am helping my knees to get better. I just have to repeat that to myself over, and over, and over…aghhh!!!!

Every American impulse left in my expat body is screaming for a quick fix: a fad diet! a new exercise! new shoes! bionic knees!

But there is no quick fix.  Only through long-term dedication can I fix my knees.

I am fairly certain I have just discovered something more difficult than running a marathon.  

Patience.

 

Stats:

Minutes of cardio: 20

Core training: 50 minutes (with resistance bands)

Strength training: 20 minutes (weight lifting)

Kids popping in and out to stare at me: 4