April 9, 2013

My Heart Just Isn't That Into Marathon Training

All week long I have been planning to blog. All week long, I have had some great ideas in my head for the words that I wanted to write.

And yet, in the realness of this moment, there is very little to be said.
In the raw emotion of new news, waiting, and frustration, I am silenced.
Last night I read a verse, or a portion of a verse, from Matthew 28:5,
"Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus..."
The passage continues, but I couldn't get past that first sentence.
My heart trembles at the power of those words.
I am looking for Jesus right now.

For those of you who know me pretty well, you know that I've been training for the full marathon for the past 5 months or so. My "short" runs have the tendency to be 10 miles long.
Hours upon hours of time spent pounding pavement.
Hundreds of miles covered by my feet.
I am 100% invested in this marathon.
When I have struggled to find motivation to keep on going...the one thing that has pushed me further was the thought,
"How do you want to feel when you stand at the starting line on April 28?"
My constant answer?
Prepared.
I want to feel prepared.

Two months ago, on the longest of my long runs, I began to feel a little bit of tightness in the left side of my chest.
I am the queen of thinking, "It's not a big deal."
Just ask me how long I went with torn hip flexor muscles before I was finally convinced that I needed to take a REAL break.
 6 months guys.
 Call me stubborn.
Over spring break I noticed that I couldn't even run 3 miles without some intense pain in my chest...but I chalked it up to a humid climate.
My dad encouraged me to go to the doctor before the marathon.
This past weekend, in the midst of a long run, I reached a point when I got really scared because it was worse then I had ever experienced.

Last summer I had to have some testing done because of a heart murmur that they found. 
Last summer, I remember throwing up my hands and saying, "God, you've got this. Whatever is going on in there, I gave my heart to you. So I guess I meant it physically too."
And it turned out to be nothing worrisome at all.
God is faithful in the midst of our fears.

I made an appointment with my doctor on Monday and they got me in today.
Next Wednesday I'll go to a cardiologist.
Meanwhile, while we figure out what is going on...I've been given pretty strict instructions,
"You can run, but as soon as you feel pain around your heart, you have to stop."
20 years old and they take you seriously, I guess.

19 days away from running my first full marathon and I was just told to stop.
I'm pretty dumb sometimes, I keep running when I shouldn't.
Joints and muscles, ehh...it's whatever.
But my heart?
I get it.
It's a little bit more serious.
I have to take these instructions more seriously.
I am ultimately bummed right now.
And most definitely, unprepared.
This week is crucial to my training.
While I am confident that my body could finish a marathon, I am not confident in the pain that my heart is feeling.
Despite whatever pre-race jitters I have had, I want to run this race with everything inside of me. 
And now...the real whiny Mandy comes out. 
High pitched voice, complaining, "But I WANT to." 
Complete with a perfectly pouting face. 

I won't be stupid with this. The fact that I feel like my heart is being squeezed tight is a reminder that this is real and this is an issue. 
But fear? 
No. 
Most definitely not. 
"Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus.." 
I've been looking for Jesus out on the marathon course. 
I've been learning a lot of lessons over the past few months about perseverance.
 Lessons about commitment.
  Lessons about being steadfast. 
I don't know what the point of this lesson is going to be and I'm still hoping that I'll get my chance to figure it out on the elusive 26.2 mile long course...
...but if not, it will be okay. 
I'm not afraid, I'm looking for Jesus right now.