I think I have too much going on. I have a whopper of a trail run coming up in less than 3 weeks. It’s not the length of the run that intimidates me, it’s the difficulty. It’s only a 25k, but I don’t intend to finish it in less than 4 1/2 hours. Here is a quote from the race director “I want to be clear that our course was not designed for the leisure runner or hiker. Nor was it designed so that everyone can easily finish. I look for runners… who train consistently over the course of a year. Individuals who welcome steep hills, rocky terrain, wet feet, and being out of their physical comfort level for 16 miles.” Yikes!
I also have a 5k challenge I am undertaking. I want to run a 5k each month and try to get faster with each one. I have my baseline race completed, now I must train to run faster by including (at least) one fast run each week.
I am running a marathon this summer that includes a 2 1/2 mile railroad tunnel at the beginning of the race. You must wear a headlight to see in the tunnel. I have no worries about finishing, but I had hoped to run a fast marathon, and I have not been able to push myself to get out there and do the long runs necessary to finish strong.
And I just found out that my lottery bid to enter the Marine Corps Marathon in October was successful. Yay! I think!
My training runs have been going great lately, my inability to push myself to go long distances notwithstanding. I have recovered my old stride, and I feel strong. I usually train in the countryside near my house. This is the rolling Pennsylvania farmland that I love. Last week, however, I decided to do one of my training runs in town, because the wind was whipping, and I thought I would be more protected if I ran between the buildings.
Those of you who are regular readers of this blog know of my proclivity for signs. There are plenty of opportunities to read signs on a run through town, and this one literally stopped me in my tracks.
I recently retired from a 30+ year teaching career, and I have been like a kid in a candy store chasing fitness goals and other interesting pursuits with the extra free time now available to me. In addition to running, I now have time to do Body Pump at the gym 3 times a week. I sometimes swim. I like to do yoga. I volunteer with 2 different non-profit groups and I have been catching up with old friends. I have also started blogging. My husband would tell you “I have no rest in my bones”! I have been so busy that I have neglected that small, quiet inner voice that lets me know when I am on the right path.
Maybe one of the questions that I need to ask myself is why I feel the need to be in control all the time. Here is a story from last weekend. Sunday was Easter. My husband Bill and I took 2 of our grandchildren (4 and 6 years old) to egg hunts on Saturday. At the first egg hunt, there was someone dressed up in an Easter Bunny costume. The 4-year-old does not like people in costumes. He was scared, but we managed to avoid the bunny, and he participated in the egg hunt. We played in the park for a while, then went to egg hunt number two. The same bunny was there, menacing my grandson. He started to cry. The older one wanted to hunt eggs, but the younger was completely freaked out. Bill stayed with the 6-year-old, while I took the 4-year old back to the car, away from the perilous bunny.
While we were there, I tried to reason with him. I told him that the person in the suit was a teenage girl, that we would never let the Easter Bunny hurt him, that other kids were hugging the Easter Bunny and getting high fives, but to no avail. He was scared. He stayed in the car. His older brother shared some of the eggs he found, and Bill got a chocolate bunny for the little one, so it all worked out well in the end. I was irritated, but hid my irritation from the little guy (thank goodness!). I did express it later to Bill. Was I irritated because he ruined my idyllic plan?
Later that evening, I had a chance to reflect. What if someone had asked me to ride to the top of a mountain on a chairlift as part of a “fun” activity? I have a completely unreasonable and immobilizing fear of heights. That would not be “fun” for me; it would be terrifying. No amount of reasoning could change my mind. Believe me, I have tried to reason with myself. My need for control in the Easter bunny situation made a difficult situation worse, and made me feel bad. I should have been more sympathetic. I must learn to allow God to let things happen in their own time.
Controlling behavior is rooted in selfishness. When I feel the need to control, I am really saying “I know best in every situation“. I want life to go my way, even though that is not always the best way. This selfish, headstrong behavior actually made me feel anxious and impatient. It as not a pleasant feeling. As soon as I was able to reflect, I could surrender control. I felt peaceful. Anxiety disappeared, and I realized that the burden of being in charge was lifted. My stress levels decreased. All of these benefits came from taking the time to step back and listen to the voice in my heart.
The need to be in control is exhausting. It can cause tension in relationships, unrealized goals, spiritual agitation and emotional angst. Surrender is freeing. It feels like exhaling after holding your breath for a long time. For all of you yogis, it feels like savasana. It’s like the clean, tired-but-satisfied feeling I get after a long run. Aaahhh!
The bible quote that I think best describes this is Ecclesiastes 3:1 – 15. I love this chapter (maybe) more than any other. Some verses are featured in the song (There is a Season) Turn! Turn! Turn!, which Bill and I chose to have sung at our wedding nearly 40 years ago. There is a time for everything, which God chooses. I am going to find this song on YouTube and listen right now. I need the reminder.
My favorite verses of this chapter are not featured in the song. They are verses 12 and 13, which say “So I realized that all we can do is be happy and do the best we can while we are still alive. All of us should eat and drink and enjoy what we have worked for. It is God’s gift.”
God’s gift to you is happiness. It’s up to us to take the time to accept that gift. Relinquishing control is the first step. Surrender!
I am linking up with Debbie at Dare 2 Hear. Check out the inspirational posts on her Tune in Thursdays.
I am linking up with Char at Trekking Thru the Week.
I am also linking up with Sunday Thoughts. For faith-based posts, click here