A Slow Road . . .
Since the middle of April of this year, I’ve been dealing with a foot fracture. It was seeming to get better, but then for the last couple weeks, it has regressed. The frustration of not being able to run - sometimes hardly walk - has been maddening. Once again, I reflect on the gift - the very tentative gift - that running is. Right now, it’s not about speed or distances or challenges, it’s just about being able to.
But there HAS been a golden lining. All my life, I have struggled to do pull-ups with my hands facing forward. So, with this injury, I really can’t put a lot of stress on my feet, but that doesn’t impact my arms. So, I decided that I was going to start doing pull-ups. OH MY GOODNESS!! Uhh, I tried to do one “real” pull-up and FAILED!! I mean, I’ve done routines where I built up to 70 push-ups and other things like that, but pull-ups have ALWAYS been a weakness.
A little depressed, but undaunted, I got a chair and started doing “pull-ups” with the help of a chair and my legs (well, one leg more than the other due to that silly fracture). Never the less, I started. Weeks went by and I wasn’t seeing a whole lot of progress, but I was determined to keep at it, even though my progress was ridiculously slow. But you know, I still remember that feeling when I was able to do my first one! Yeah, yeah, some of you may be thinking, “Oooooo, what a stud . . . ONE pull-up!” But for me, it was a big deal and gave me some encouragement. Of course, I was walking up the stairs following that accomplishment, I’ll admit I laughed a little at myself . . . “Ooooo, what a stud . . . ONE pull-up!” : )
Well, I’ve kept at it for months now. My progress has NOT been amazing by any stretch of the imagination, but I am slowly getting stronger. Today, I did six pull-ups. “Ooooo, what a stud . . . SIX pull-ups.” Even though my progress isn’t remarkable, it has given me a greater appreciation for these people doing the ninja warrior challenges. : ) Yet, even though my progress has been slow, it’s still progress and I’m determined to keep at it until pull-ups are something I can knock out 20 without a problem . . . though you may want to hold off on checking back with me on accomplishing that for a year or so. : )
What’s my point? I can’t run right now, but for now, pull-ups are my running. I was a beginner when I started and I’m still at the beginner level, but I keep plugging at it. For those of you out there who are just starting out running or who are just starting out to train for a distance race, you may not see a lot of improvement, and when you think of your goal (a 5K, 10K, half-marathon or even a marathon) the thought of running that far can seem overwhelming.
The trick is, take it a day at a time. Even the smallest improvements are encouragements to hang on to. I remember the first day I was able to almost clear the bar, I was really encouraged. But you know, the next time, I didn’t make it that far. It felt like I had taken a step back. Truth is, no matter what level of a runner you are, you are going to have really great days and days that you tried, but the run just didn’t feel good or go as planned. IT’S OKAY!! Expect those days and just know that “tomorrow” (or maybe a week from tomorrow) there will be a better run.
Perseverance. Dedication. Resiliency. Guts. It takes those things to keep on keeping on when you don’t see improvements like OTHERS seem to do, but don’t compare yourself to others’ progress. Instead, if you’re going to compare, look at yourself a month or two ago. Have you made even a little progress . . . like me, moved from zero pull-ups to one or two pull-ups in two months? For you, moved from not being able to run a block to being able to run/walk a half-mile? Or having never run more than 10 miles two months ago, but now you’re running 12? Yeah, sometimes we’re not able to advance as quickly as others (or as the “plan” says), but that’s okay. I believe it’s better to go at the pace and rate YOUR body says you should and be happy, rather than push yourself to make the distance on a printed plan and start dreading the next time you “have” to lace up your shoes for a run. : ) Know what I mean? : )
Allow yourself to run for the love of it! : )
Also, if you have a moment, I would appreciate your prayers for my foot. Although my personal pull-up challenge has been good for me, I sure do miss running!! : )
Have an awesome run today!