Monday, October 1, 2012

Slow and Steady

Remember back in January when I had started the 'Couch to 5K' plan in an attempt to run in Rachel's race this year?

On day 5, I fractured my tibia (stress fracture) and couldn't walk, let alone run, for over 8 weeks without being on the verge of tears.  I obviously didn't get to run in Rachel's race (which is fine cause I'm way too busy directing it to run in it!) and I have stayed completely away from any high impact exercise.

The doctor had told me "You could stand to lose 30 - 40 pounds".  (um, yeah... just had 2 babies in a row... but yes, I know)

So, for the last 9 months, I have be eating better and exercising consistently.  And I knew I felt stronger.  I knew stairs were easier.  I knew I lost the 40 pounds the doctor asked of me.  But last month I took a cardio dance class and my knee and leg hurt for days.  I was beginning to wonder if I would ever be able to use my legs like I used to....

Until Saturday.  I decided to do a little jogging on the treadmill Friday night.  I went a mile all together and walked a bunch of it cause I was so scared to fracture anything and have to start all over on the healing.  I felt okay.  But what really struck me was my endurance.  I was scared to hurt my bones, but I felt like I could just keep going - which has always been my struggle.  I've always had the strength physically, but not the endurance to get far.

So Saturday when I got out of work, I decided to go for it.

I couldn't believe it...I passed one mile.... two miles... and I was tempted to push for the whole 5K, but I made it to 2.33 before I had to talk my determination back down to reality and I went back to walking.   I felt awesome. 

All I could think was about my last question on my last post... "will I always feel this delicate?" 

I always here people talk about "training for a 5K" and I guess I thought there was a 'right' way to do that.  I figured it included a treadmill - or running outside - or running in place.  I don't know, I thought it needed to include running.  At least that's what everyone else seemed to do if running a 5K was their goal.

Well, I've been so careful to give my body time to heal that I have not run at all since January (minus when I lost my speech at Rachel's race right before I had to give it!! I ran all over looking for it and was praying the whole time my knee wouldn't re-break!)  I have used the elliptical and the stair machine and done light weights - and taken some spin classes.  My workouts all summer long were less than 30 minutes and mostly just to keep myself in the habit of going.  I'm not one to spend hours in the gym.  I had no idea that while I was seemingly NOT training for a 5K, I was in fact getting closer to one.

My couch to 5K plan was supposed to be a 9 week plan... but back then 'day 5' was killing me and that was basically 'run for 90 secs, walk for 90 secs until you reach 20 minutes' and it was really hard for me.  I was so weak after having Rachel and Asa.  I was afraid to lose them so I took it VERY slow during my pregnancies. (and per Rachel's request ate lots of chocolate and caramel) :o)  I haven't run as far as I did on Saturday since I was a kid.  Sure, it took 9 months instead of 9 weeks.  Yes, many people could do it in less.  And no, I'm not all the way there....

But to see that a little at a time... slowly but surely... when it looked like I was so far off and not doing the types of things that most would deem necessary to achieve it...

I was getting closer to my goal.

And I have to believe that my healing process is the same.  I need to give my heart the same freedom to heal without too much impact, just as I did my knee.  I need to choose activities that don't cause pain and as the doctor told me back in January about my leg "let pain be my guide".  I need to not force it to do more than it can endure - regardless of what someone else might be able to handle.  And I pray that one day I will stretch my heart a little and find that it's stronger than I thought - that while I was giving it the time to heal, it was doing so much more.  That it wasn't just getting back to where it started before Rachel, but that it was exceeding that.  And I truly believe that God is not only capable of that, but that it is in fact what He is doing.

Our hearts and souls should be given just as much understanding as broken bones, but unfortunately that is not usually the case.  They are just supposed to keep going and not allow the pain to dictate our lives.  While everyone is able to empathize with someone who is physically incapable of doing things, most don't have that same level of compassion for a hurting heart.  They don't make casts or braces that say to the people around you 'I am broken and still healing right now."  

I cannot compartmentalize my grief into a separate part of my life that only gets visited when it's convenient or won't make anyone else uncomfortable.  I don't think that would be healthy or aid in my long term healing either.  It's part of who I am now.  And I'm positive it would do my relationship with God no good to try to put on a facade and not be real with Him or others.  He knows it all anyway and not only can He handle it, but He loves me just the same.

Ultimately, if I didn't give my bones the time they needed, they would be more likely to break again the first time my foot hit the ground wrong.  If I would have pushed myself back in May when I was convinced it should absolutely NOT take that long to heal a broken bone, I wouldn't have been running like I did the other day.  And so the speed at which someone gets back into things after being broken doesn't reveal the true condition under the skin - or guarantee any long lasting positive results.

Most often in my life, joy has not come with happiness, but in spite of it's absence. It is a gift from God and has been given to me in this valley and it goes so much deeper than what is visible on the outside.  He is reforming the pieces of my broken heart and it will happen in his perfect timing. I surrendered to His plan over 2 years ago and I need to just keep doing that and not worrying about what anyone thinks or expects of me. My concern over what other people think of me has been a downfall my entire life. I need to concern myself only with what He thinks of me.

The moral of this story:  Just because someone is out and smiling does not mean they are okay.  And just because someone is home and crying does not mean they aren't.

Sometimes the tortoise isn't as far behind as he seems.


  1. This is so encouraging to me. I'm trying to figure out how long my heart is going to take to heal from a childhood of abuse... and trying to find the motivation to get my physical body into shape even though I have absolutely no endurance when it comes to exercise. Thank you for sharing your story of success.

  2. Such an encouraging post. Thank you as always Stacy!

  3. Thank you for being so open and honest. It is so good to know that I am not the only one feeling this way. Prayers, love and hugs to you Stacy!


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Thank you! ♥ The Aubes