This morning during my jog, I ran my best mile since I started back running this past summer. I ran my first mile leg in 10 minutes and 22 seconds… a far cry from the 13 minute plus mile I ran when I first began. When the voice on my Endomondo app announced my time, I did a mid-length fist pump in the air. YES! I am that much closer to my goal of running 10 minute flat miles consistently without my heart palpitating out of my chest and me sucking in air as if it would be my last breath. The 10min 22sec announcement represented more than just running a faster mile. My endurance is strengthening! I am getting stronger! I am getting faster! And most importantly, I DID NOT QUIT WHEN IT WAS HARD!
You see, when I first laced up my running shoes in June 2014, I was slow, tired, out of breath, and heard a myriad of “you can quit” and “you are so tired” whispers in my head that I constantly had to battle. There were many mornings when I would have rather turned over and continued to sleep, or listen to the many excuses I had lined up for myself like “girl you were up 2 times last night with the baby, you need your rest!” or “just run later!” or “its just too cold out there today.” Many of times, its our own thoughts that defeat us before we can even get started. There have been times during my runs when I knew I was tired, when I was doing all I could to even out my breathing to decrease my heart rate, and I had to combat “go ahead and quit” thoughts with self affirmations like “I am not tired”, “I have two more miles in me”, and “I will finish strong”. Sometimes, we don’t have a pack of clappers and shoulder patters behind us when we embark on a new journey. Sometimes, we have to do it alone and be our own pom-pom squad and give ourselves our own inspiring speech to get us through that 2nd half.
So I ask you today. What goals do you have that you have talked yourself out of? What dreams do you have that have been running around on your wheel of excuses like that hamster displayed in the pet store? Trust me, I have been the queen of excuses time and time again. I have wasted years of singing the “I have a dream” song to myself and then turning around and reaping the guilt that stems from the realization that yet another year has passed and I hadn’t done one thing to see those dreams manifest. Another New Year’s resolution proclaimed with no real plans to sustain it. Another season of me looking in the mirror and not liking the weight I was at. This time, when I put on my shoes, I didn’t want it to be another lackadaisical attempt. I wanted to be consistent, I wanted to be progressive, and I wanted to run my best mile every single day.
If you need help like I did combatting your own self, I encourage you to turn to our “lamp”, the Word of God. It always begins with discipline! This scripture especially hit home for me. Discipline does not feel good in the moment. Training is not always easy. But it is worth it.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:11 (NIV)
As I sit here and reflect, I am overcome by emotion because I can face myself. I can look myself in the eye when I see my reflection and tell my own self, “you did it girl! I am proud of you.” This time, I did not give up. This time, I did not quit. This time, I completed the training process of being disciplined enough to hit the pavement and put one foot in front of the other and push those negative thoughts aside. Now, I lay out my running gear before I even go to bed. Now, my alarm is set to ring before the kids wake up for the day. Now, I look at my calendar and map out what days I will run and what days I will hit the gym. So I encourage you to ask yourself, what is your pavement? What’s the thing waiting for you to hit with everything you’ve got? We can have all the faith in the world, but faith without works is dead (James 2:26).
This journey has taught me that when we make goals, we must have two things in order:
1) A Plan.
““Write down the vision and make it plain on tablets so that whoever reads it may run with it.” (Habakkuk 2:2)
2) Clear Steps of Preparation to Execute the Plan.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” (Provers 16:3)
So I say to whomever may be reading this. You can do it! But it won’t be accomplished until YOU believe you can do it. Commit to making that plan TODAY! Your best mile is waiting for you