As a runner since age 15, my sport has taken me through a lot. From children to divorces to job stress, running has been my saving grace. When I had breast cancer recently, running was again there for me.Three weeks before my third Ironman, I had surgery to remove breast cancer. I scratched Ironman. I will spare you the grumbling I had about how highly inconvenient this all was, after all, I’m here today in perfect health. You can read more about my experiences in my book, The Competitor in Me II: Conquer Fear. Two weeks to the day I had surgery, I couldn’t stand it anymore. It was time to start running again. On a sunny September day after work, I headed out into the fresh air. The plan was to just run easy and savor the day, the freedom.
The sun’s warmth was marvelous. I didn’t have one moment when I regretted being out there. I praised God for the opportunity and asked Him to keep helping me through my journey. The sidewalk quickly moved past me. So much for worrying about how hard it would be to get moving again. The doubt demons were at it again, telling me I wouldn’t be able to keep running, but my legs put a stop to them.
Running felt so natural and easy. My body craved the warm sun, the breeze in my face. I wanted to be out there for two hours. I settled for 42 glorious minutes. Later, I texted my running partner, Ben. My words are a great summary of that run:
Me: Went running today. I’m not sayin’ it didn’t hurt. I’m not sayin’ it was a mistake. Thrilled.
Grinning, I saved Ben’s text for a very long time. His encouragement came in handy many days.That day caused a shift in my recovery. Not just the outward shift in getting back into running, but a shift in my perspective. By running for just 42 minutes, there was a noticeable deliverance of grace to my recovery. The day, the week, this recovery no longer felt completely out of my control. I had this.
Running just one day gave me the grace to unlock new hope. It was always in me but there was so much fear in the way, I couldn’t see it. In the days that followed, I felt so renewed and refreshed as I pushed through recovery. How down I had been! It’s true that I had no idea just how bad I felt until I began feeling good. And now I knew the real source of my pain, my flatness. It was a huge shroud of fear. I was unconsciously walking through my days, knowing I was fighting but not what I was fighting. Running crystallized things, and set me on a path to conquer my fear. Stay tuned for part two...