Friday, October 29, 2010

Why today matters for tomorrow or why I fail

So, I am thinking that maybe I should just breakdown and make Friday officially 'thoughts gleaned from running day' here at the leaky pulpit.  It seems that every Friday something has occurred to me while on my long run that I think is worthy of sharing.  
As you may have guessed, today is no different.  So we are really coming down to the wire in our marathon training as we are actually just 3 weeks (and 2 days) away from the Philadelphia Marathon.  Woot Woot.  Anyway, that means that today was my next to the last 'long run' before the marathon.  It was 18 miles.  Lets just say that is a long way, and it takes a long time.  This time around I have actually kind of enjoyed the long runs in training and have had pretty good experiences, especially my last two long runs (14 & 16 miles).  Today was a much different experience.  
It actually started out as a pretty good run, almost great.  For almost the first half of the run, about 8 or so miles I was feeling pretty good and running comfortably at a pace a good 15-20 seconds faster than my target marathon pace.  And both of my knees were feeling pretty good (my left knee is just bad and on my 14 mile run I fell hard on my right knee and it is still a little gimpy)
By the actual halfway point, however, I was really struggling.  Not struggling to run so much, but just feeling really drained of energy.  Now to give a little background when you are running any significant distance (for me anything more than 8 miles) you have to have a plan for replenishing your energy.  I use FRS chews - which are awesome, but only taste okay, and GU energy gel.  You simply have to do this because of the amount of calories that you are expending.  So today, I was actually really prepared and did a slightly more aggressive  than I usually do.  So that wasn't the issue.
As I was struggling through the last 10 miles or so of my run, I had a lot of time to think about why I was so drained of energy.  I came up with a lot of options: First, I thought I might just be emotionally drained - it has been a tough week.  While this might have played a part, I was really physically tired.  
So, moving on, as I said it has been a rough week and part of what that has meant is that I didn't get any training in between last weeks long run and today.  I had dropped the ball as far as my training goes this week and my body, even after a week was a little bit out of shape.  So that definitely played a part.
Third, yesterday I simply was a terrible eater.  I had wings (lovely delicious, fatty and greasy wings) for lunch, not exactly healthy or full of the kind of nutrients that translate into long term energy.  Dinner was okay, but then I spent all night snacking on yummy cookie pieces that came in the mail yesterday (thanks Grandma Barb!).  Sugar and fat, exactly what you want to be stuffing yourself with because those two things are always recommended for long term energy, right?  
So what is the point of all of this?  Sometimes we are called to things in life that require that we are prepared.  Sometimes that preparation has to start more than 10 minutes before the event.  In faith terms, God can always accomplish His will through us.  But I really do believe that we 'leave plays on the field' when we aren't prepared.  It is hard to know exactly what God wants us to do in a certain situation when the only time we ask for God's direction is at a difficult moment or in times of crisis.  We need to be training our mind and our hearts to listen to and for the 'still, small voice' of God.  
If we really want to see what great and amazing things God has planned for us then we need to make a habit of preparing to be used by God and being ready to be used by God.  That means, among other things: regularly being in conversation with God through prayer; regularly be spending time in the Word of God, so that we might have an idea of how God has acted in the past, how God has interacted with his people, how God has demonstrated his will for those that are listening for it.
I could keep going on, but I think (and I certainly hope) that you get the point.  If you are wondering why you don't have the spiritual energy to do God's will today or to live up to what God is calling you to, don't look to God - as if God has somehow failed you - look instead to how you have prepared yesterday and the week before, etc.  
Have you been filling your heart and soul with good spiritual food [Spiritual meat, interaction with God and God's Word that requires time and regularity, not just spiritual milk that tastes good, but as you grow doesn't have the nutrition you need]?  Or are you filling your heart and soul with Spiritual junk food and things that not only don't fill you up or give you the energy that you need, but ultimately they are harmful to you.  
How have you been preparing?
Have a great weekend.

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