Today was a monumental day for me. A big step in the life of a very driven, passionate runner. It was the first day I was able to exercise wisdom and patience regarding my body and a race.
This morning, I was supposed to be down in Peculiar, Mo., running a small-field half marathon. I'd wanted a race on the calendar just to have something to work toward after Boston, so I found a local one and signed up. Since it was such a small field, I actually had a legitimate shot at winning the whole thing, among the women anyway. My time was close to the winner of last year's race. I was really excited about the idea of racing fast and taking home a prize.
Well, back over Memorial Day weekend, training took a detour. I was heading down to bed at my parents' house when I slipped and fell down the stairs. I landed on my lower back and slid about five steps. OUCH! I didn't feel any cracks or pops or anything, but it sure did hurt, and my muscles really tensed up for a while. But I just kind of hobbled my way to bed and went to sleep.
After that, I kept running on it for a few days since it didn't really hurt that badly. But then about five days after it, I went out for a run, and it just KILLED me afterward. Time to see a doctor. I went to several chiropractors, each of them giving me a different opinion (pinched nerve, muscle trauma, cracked vertebrae), until I finally found Dr. Rippee. HALLELUJAH!! This guy rocks! He ID'd the problem and started to work it out. AND, get this. He's a Christian, loves to work on athletes, and he really sees his role from the Lord as healing His children daily. He's got an awesome grasp on who God made him to be. I'm really blessed to be going there!
The problem in my back is a few slightly torn stabilizer muscles and a L5 disc that apparently never fused all the way when I was born. Somehow it is able to move back and forth, when it should stay in one place all the time. What happened when I fell was that it moved, and all the rest of the vertebrae above it had to adjust. Some of the nerves are getting compressed a little, and that's causing me some pain. (Sometimes to the point at which I can barely walk.) So, we're going to treat the inflammation and pain for the next week and then work on strengthening the muscles around this area so that it will stabilize it and keep that L5 from moving.
Here's the thing, though...I'm not going to damage the area by running. I'm not going to help it, but I won't hurt it any worse. I will hurt ME pain-wise, but there won't be any further damage. AAAH! Can you see how this is like dangling a carrot in front of a rabbit?? "Jill, you won't hurt anything any further if you race. You won't be able to walk for a month, but you won't hurt your body."
Okay...Here's the decision. No, I won't hurt my body, but there are a few things to consider. First, the fact that I wouldn't be able to walk for a week. I've already seen the effects of this based on what's happened this week, and it's NO fun. I don't want to do anything except sit down. I don't like moving around, and I don't feel like going anywhere. Not even to work. So, tell me this...How is that honoring to the Lord if I am being limited from serving Him? Not worth it. Not worth it at all if I'm not able to do His will as a result of the race. I do want to be able to work.
Second, this is His temple. The longer I live, the more I get what that means. It is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, and it should be cared for. That means that I need to deal with it wisely. Yes, God has given me a gift to be able to run. But He's also given me a mind to know when and how to use that gift. This go-round, I was called to lay it down. The use of the gift is to give it back to Him and say, "I trust You, Lord." He certainly made me a runner, but that doesn't mean that I have the green light to abuse that. The gift, after all, isn't to use for my glory. It's to use for His. And whenever He wants to put it to use for His glory in a way that doesn't line up with my own plan, I need to be able to lay my agenda aside and accept His desire.
So, here I am. Sitting in front of my computer. About to go hop on the elliptical machine to keep my cardio up. Missing the race. But knowing I'm in His will and He's got a plan.