I’m back

I’m back.

I mean that in an I’m-over-my-pity-party kind of way.

Last week, after my doc told me I should stop running (she didn’t say I had to stop, merely that I should stop), I had a meltdown.

My appointment was Tuesday afternoon – my lunch break. After leaving her office, instead of heading to Subway – my usual lunchtime haunt – I headed to Wendy’s. Not good.

Not good because I went for the wrong reason: I felt sorry for myself. I took on a so-what attitude after getting the news. I ate a cheeseburger and fries, and I didn’t even enjoy it that much, partly because the burger was dry and partly because I felt guilty. An occasional indulgence is fine, but only if you’ve planned it and decided it’s an okay fraction of an otherwise healthy diet. Not because you’re trying to drown your sorrows.

Thank God the doctor didn’t tell me I had cancer. I mean, let’s put this in perspective for a minute. She didn’t give me a death sentence, but that’s how I acted for three or four days. Like someone had stolen my best friend and demanded a ransom too high to pay.

What she said to me wasn’t unreasonable, but my response was surprisingly unreasonable. It probably didn’t help that I had started off my week tired (after a three-day holiday weekend). I am a completely different person when I’ve had a good night’s sleep. I can be unreasonable when I haven’t.

She told me not to run, and not to walk on hills. Wednesday morning I tried to walk a modified version of my typical route (the racecourse of the White River 4-Mile Classic). It has hills. (We love hills. Normally.)

Do you have any idea how stressful it is to carve a new course that’s flat out of a familiar one that has hills? I can’t even tell you what exact route I created; I just wandered around the flattish parts of the route, avoiding the steepest section of North Heights, the entire “Craig Mountain” (Craig Street) and the hilly part of Hill Street. I didn’t even look at the overpass (well, yes, I did, but I didn’t approach it). I retraveled some areas of the route because I still wanted to get my 4.5 miles in (that includes the trek from my house to the racecourse and back again).

By the time I was finished, I was exhausted – mentally, if not physically.

I had started the day physically tired, probably because of my mental state. I just felt as though I had no energy. I felt like I used to feel when I was depressed 15 years ago. Ick.

Because of my pity party, and the fact that our group was still training on the Lyon College route (the Army National Guard 5K was Saturday, and we won’t even go into how I felt for not participating), I didn’t work out with the group Tuesday or Thursday nights and I didn’t walk Thursday morning by myself. But because I knew my weigh-in was Friday morning and I had indulged in ice cream Wednesday night, I walked Friday morning. Those times I did walk last week, I just didn’t feel like doing it, but I did it anyway. I felt like someone had taken the wind out of my sails. Each workout was an effort, so unlike the other times when I actually enjoyed being out there.

But I knew I had to keep truckin’ because it is so easy to get out of the habit, and I don’t want to end up right back where I was – overweight and feeling heavy in body and spirit.

So Friday’s weigh-in was a bit of a relief because I found out that I hadn’t gained weight. I lost 0.4 pounds for a total of 21. (I deserve to have gained after the self-centered week I had.) The happy part of it is that it means I maintained my 20-pound loss for a week and could have a reward. But instead of the $18 chin-up bar or the Runner’s World subscription that I had planned to get, I went to Hastings and browsed the books. I found one by a favorite author and psychologist who was key to my overcoming that long-ago depression I mentioned. (And it cost less than $10.) It’s called God’s Love Letters To You: A 40-Day Devotional Experience by Larry Crabb.

I needed a good spiritual boost.

Saturday morning I decided to do my typical route, hills and all. It didn’t hurt anything. Much.

When I was finished, I felt better. Then Bruce and I went to the Army National Guard race, and I watched several of my friends take trophies or medals. I was bummed, but I didn’t dwell on it all day (only part of the day).

This morning I did my typical route again, and not only did I start off feeling great (physically and mentally), I was happy again as I walked. The hills didn’t even seem that bad.

When I was finished, I had that same feeling of accomplishment that I’ve experienced over and over for the past few months. I was back.

Feelings are so untrustworthy. I’m glad to know that God doesn’t abandon us when we take our focus off Him. He doesn’t let us hang in the wind; He’s always there. Sometimes we just don’t recognize it because we’re too busy focusing on ourselves.

I think He’s allowing me to experience these feelings, though, so I’ll understand that He is the only One I can truly count on. I can’t count on my feelings. I can’t count on my body. I can’t count on the weather. I can just count on Him.

I’m back, but He never left.

Thank God.

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