The Inspired Perspirer

1% Inspiration, 99% Perspiration

Tag: running

Just roll with the punches… then counter-attack with a vengeance!

“The best laid plains of mice and men often go awry…”

As you might can already tell, this weekend did NOT go as planned. I AM a planner, and I tend to keep “the plan” on my person at all times, regardless of what “the plan” pertains to. The Evernote app on my smartphone allows this. Whether it is a vacation (what to pack, what to see, what to do, what to buy), a grocery list, or a running schedule, “the plan” is with me always. Usually, a plan is what is needed to ensure what needs done, gets done. However, spontaneity is the spice of life (as is variety), so I do like to leave flexibility within my plans. Too much rigidity suffocates me. And yet, still, I do sometimes find myself getting perturbed when “the plan” goes awry. Thankfully, when it went awry this weekend, I was able to just go with it.

It started with Saturday morning… when the alarm went off for my run, I was NOT feeling it. Despite the prior day’s preparations (hydrating, carb-loading) for this last big push before my first half marathon, when I woke up, I was exhausted. So, I hit the snooze a few times. The alarm was VERY early, and I could afford a few snoozes. When I finally got up and ready, I was feeling good. The morning was cool, which was a refreshing treat. THIS was going to be a good run!

But, then the dogs started following me… they did NOT need to follow me on this run as I would be crossing a major highway. And putting them on a leash is not even an option… we are VERY rural, and these dogs are working dogs, not pets. So, I headed back and tried putting them in the house. Time was ticking… the sun was up and the thermometer was rising. It gets hot QUICK in Texas! I managed to get one inside, then I started working on the other. Just a few minutes later, my husband let the one out of the house… along with both house dogs. So, then we tried catching them all up again. It just wasn’t working. I was very annoyed by this time, especially when I looked at the time. I had a choice to make… either he could drive me away from the ranch and I could start my run (and battle the rising heat), OR I could wait till the next morning and we could go run in the park. I chose the latter. AND I chose to be happy about it.

As it turns out, they were GOOD choices. We had a wonderful, restful day together, went to see “Hubble” at the IMAX, scouted restrooms and parking spaces at the park, picked up some more gels, had a wonderful pasta dinner together, and just generally enjoyed a very relaxing day together. After a good night’s rest, we woke up before dawn, gathered our gear and headed to town. He biked while I ran. It was the farthest I’ve ever ran before – 11 miles! I was absolutely determined to suck all the life and mileage I possibly could out of this run, and I was happy the whole way through – smiling through the pain of the final miles, light-heartedly greeting every soul I passed along the way. With a bit of a limp, I finished my run, then stretched and played in the water park along with the kids.

How do I manage to keep going when my muscles want to stop? I remind myself of how good I will feel once I have the pain behind me. I remind myself that life is short and tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. I remind myself that pain is fleeting, and victory is eternal. I tell my body that IT works for ME, and then I attack my day with all the energy and force I can possibly muster! And then, victory IS mine!!

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The Heavens Declare His Handiwork

image

Last night, at church, we watched a video of Louie Giglio – “Indescribable”. This video included images taken by Hubble, and the last image that was shown is the one you see above, which can be downloaded from hubble.org. The Whirlpool Galaxy is approximately 31 million light years away from Earth, and this picture is of “the X Structure”, which is at the center of the Whirlpool Galaxy. I don’t know about you, but to me, THIS is INDESCRIBABLE. I was absolutely floored by jaw-dropping wonder when I first saw this image. Only God can make a person feel so small and yet so loved at the same time.

So, being a runner who is re-learning math (with the help of a very old series of self-study books, starting with “Arithmetic For The Practical Man”) , with this image burned into my mind along with, perhaps, the old adages “run to the cross” and “run to Jesus”, I asked myself a question. You might think it a silly one, but it just popped into my head and I had to know…. “how many years would it take to run, non-stop, to the Whirlpool Galaxy from Earth at a rate of 10 minutes per mile?” So….. I did the math.

First, let’s take a look at the numbers. The Whirlpool Galaxy is 31 million LIGHT YEARS away. There are approximately 6 TRILLION miles in ONE Light Year (the “exact” number is 5,878,625,373,184), which makes TWG roughly 182 quintillion miles away from earth (5,878,625,373,184 X 31,000,000 = 182,237,386,568,704 X 10 raised to the sixth power). For a little bit of perspective, the Sun is 93 million miles away from Earth, and at a 10 minute/mile pace, would take approximately 63,700 years to run to. At this same pace, it would take about 125,000,000,000,000,000 (125 QUADRILLION) years to run to “the cross”. Actually, that would just get you to the outer edges of the Whirlpool Galaxy, and you’d still have several million more miles to go. To offer even more perspective, the Universe itself is estimated to be about 14 billion years old. The Universe would have to outlive itself 900 times over to give you the time to make this ultimate marathon of a journey.

So, now I know. I can’t run to the cross. It is too far, too high. Completely and utterly unattainable. As Matthew West says in one of my favorite songs, I’m not strong enough. I give up.

Thank God that He never asked me to “run to the cross”. No, HE descended from Heaven and HE ran to US. And all that is left for us to do is simply open the door.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” ~Revelation 3:20

…I do still like the saying, though.  😉

The Idea

“The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

You know that saying “no pain, no gain”? Well, it’s absolutely true. “Building muscle” hurts. As you workout, you’re not really “building” muscle at all – you’re ripping, shredding and DESTROYING muscle. The “building” part actually comes when you are resting and your body is repairing itself. This is why a good workout SHOULD be accompanied by some level of pain. The pain is how you know you are getting somewhere!

With this in mind, I know that my academic goal will require just as much training, struggle, commitment, and strength of will as my athletic goal of running a marathon. I am reminded of something Richard Feynman once said to a reporter… I don’t remember the exact quote, but it went along the lines of “you want to know about these big things, but you don’t even know about the small things! Go learn about the small things first!” Begin at the beginning, and start with small things… just as when I picked up running I started with “small things” – short distances.

You may be wondering why I am so inspired by a Physicist when that is not what I aim to be. The thing is, Richard Feynman never stopped learning. He saw EVERYTHING as a LEARNABLE SKILL… all you need is a teachable mind an a willingness to experiment! At one point in his studies, he took a hiatus to work in biology, ultimately making discoveries in that field. Later, with no formal training, he picked up music and art, and advanced himself in those fields as well. If, to this, all you have to say is, “of course HE did, HE was a certifiable GENIUS!” ….well, then, all I have to say to you is, “Pecans to you!! What do I care what others think?!”

I know the path ahead will be difficult. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

If there’s one thing life has taught me it’s this: the harder the struggle, the sweeter the victory.

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you…. THE QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Running and science draw on similar traits – stamina, ambition, patience, and the ability to overcome limits.” ~Wolfgang Ketterle, Nobel laureate, MIT professor

I just came across this quote while flipping through my Runner’s World training log, and I find it to be highly encouraging, so I thought it should be shared! Now….back to studying math!

Inquiring minds want to know…

Well, maybe not minds, but at least ONE curious cat wonders…. if an asthmatic can become a marathoner, can an artist become a mathemetician??? Granted, I’m not quite yet a marathoner, but training is progressing incredibly well, and I’m right on track to run my first half marathon – The Hottest Half – in one month’s time. And it’s not so much that I want to be a mathemetician, but rather an engineer.

My frame of mind is working towards genius, pure and simple.  The inspiration is embedded within. I will work harder than I ever have to realize my potential. My milestones will be marked not only by my steady footfalls, but by my steady progress in mathematics and science. My “weakness” shall become my strength!

How can I even know if math & science IS even a weakness? I’ve never applied myself to it. Most of my life, especially in education, has followed the path of least resistance. Running has been a revelation to me in this respect. Until I began running, at the age of 30, I believed I could never be a runner. I blamed it on a few things, asthma chiefly among them. It wasn’t until I began truly applying myself to running and built up my lungs that I learned that this “weakness” was a strength all along…. it just took a willingness to apply myself fully -1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.

The plan? Spend the next 2 – 3 years (the time it will take for my husband to finish his degree) re-wiring my brain, building and strengthening synaptic connections, teaching myself math, and preparing for a strenuous course load that will lead me towards a degree that will allow me to rise within the company I work for and become MORE than I am.

Can I do it? I would say only God knows, but I tend to side with Henry Ford, who said “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” What I do know is this: even if I am the only one that does, I BELIEVE IN MYSELF.