On the wings of angels

I have been feeling very tired, worn out, and sluggish this week.  So, needless to say, as I watched my girlfriends eat, drink, and be merry at our annual Christmas gift exchange last night, my motivation dwindled quickly for my pace run scheduled for this morning. I wanted wine! I wanted to eat all the goodies! (well, at least the gluten and dairy free one 🙂 ) But, the advice that I had received from Paxton, who was also holding me accountable by meeting me for the run this morning, ran through my head: my most important runs each week are Monday speed drills, Friday pace runs, and Saturday long runs.  *Sigh*  So, I called it a night early (9:00- late for me!) and got some sleep instead.

I remained unmotivated as Paxton and I started out this morning.  The actual temperature was high 30’s, but the windchill brought it down into the 20’s with 10 mph winds.  We quickly found out that the wind would be against us on our way back on the out and back route.  Wonderful :).  We ran the warm up at an ok pace and kicked it up at the 1 mile mark.  With the wind at our backs, it wasn’t so bad!  I broke the run down into smaller chunks.  Instead of focusing on the 9 mile run, I broke out the warm up (check!), then started counting down the 3.5 miles to our turn around point.  Unfortunately, we hit a few red lights and were forced to start and stop a few times there.  And unfortunately, the turn around point came at the top of a hill.  Once we hit the top, I called a pit stop to take in a gel and catch my breath.  I was sucking air!  It felt like it took forever to catch my breath, meanwhile, Paxton was breathing nice and normal like it was a walk in the park :).  I sucked down my honey stinger gel, drank some water, and we set off again.  With the downhill, we quickly picked up speed and Paxton warned me to slow down because we were flying!  I complied and fell into step next to him.  I focused on my mile markers for the way back to break the run up into smaller chunks.  As we came to mile 5.5, the wind hit us- bam!  I felt it!  I started sucking air and breathing in huge gulps.  Paxton commented that it felt like the temperature was actually falling as we ran.  At mile 6, I started to feel pretty fatigued.  Instead of thinking about quitting, I started to pray.  I prayed that God would number 1, just keep me upright!  In my exhaustion, I prayed that I wouldn’t get sloppy in my steps and tumble down.  I prayed that God would put an angel in front of me so that I could just ride on their wings to the end of the workout.  I prayed for the endurance to finish.  As my prayer ended, Paxton started explaining to me the benefits of this part of the run.  You’re tired.  You want to give up.  It becomes more mental than physical.  He told me how he met a total stranger during one of his marathons and they pushed each other in those last miles to both set a PR!  Then, he told me to just “clip on to his wing, and he’ll get me to the end of this run.”  With that, Paxton picked up the pace and I followed.  Sucking air and breathing embarrassingly loudly, I followed suit and kept the pace as best as I could.  I noticed as we rounded mile 7 that is not my legs, per se, that were giving up on me, it was my lung capacity.  I focused in on my breathing and keeping it nice and smooth.  I focused on nothing more than putting one foot solidly in front of the other.  We rounded a corner to start the final half mile uphill.  Paxton kept the pace strong and steady.  As we hit mile 7.75, my legs felt like they were burning.  I was not giving up.  I knew this would make me stronger.  Even going uphill, I ran my hardest (although, it was still behind Paxton at this point 🙂 ), and used my mantra “push, push, push!!!” to get me to the top.  When my garmin beeped mile 8, I called out meekly (which is all I could muster) that I was stopping to walk.  I felt like not only legs, but now my insides were burning!  I could’ve puked.  And once again, I was out of breath.  Paxton informed me that even going uphill, we remained on pace!  This is a first for me as I usually slow down a good full minute/mile going up hills :).  I’ll take that!

It didn’t hit me until I was stretching, that what Paxton told me “clip on to my wing and I’ll get you to the end” was exactly what I had prayed for in that moment.  Even as I write this now, hours later, I get chills.  That is so awesome to me!

And, a minister I follow on Facebook, Joel Osteen, posted this mini-message this afternoon:

“Even when it’s difficult, just remember, the same winds trying to defeat you are the winds God will use to push you to a new level.”

Going against the wind those last 3 miles definitely pushed me to a new level and God certainly answered my prayers and showed me His attentiveness to my needs in those moments.  I don’t think any of this is chalked up to “coincidence.”  I am grateful for the perseverance He blessed me with not to give up this morning.  This testament spills over into another issue I am struggling with today in a relationship.  It may not be time to give up, but to persevere and reap His blessings.

Cheers!

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