Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sacrifice

Balance in life is a slippery, elusive thing. When you have a patch of well-aligned existence with everything humming along nicely, it's smart to stop and notice how you got here, with the hopes that maybe you can stay longer. But sometimes, those patches are thin and we go along life just for a ride, not really aware of what we’re actually doing. At least I do at times.

Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Lent, the 40 days before Easter.

Even those people who have no observance of or interest in Lent can appreciate the timeless, noble act of sacrifice. Maybe it means sucking it up when things hurt and you can't breathe and completing the effort on a day when you don't have what it takes. Maybe it means going to work and supporting your family when your career is in an unfulfilling rut. Maybe it means honoring your marriage even when it doesn't feed your soul the way it used to, right now. Maybe it means taking the time to visit or call your family or friends because it makes them happy. Maybe it means biting your tongue when you feel hurt. Maybe it means boldly speaking up when you feel like shutting down. Maybe it means being generous when we feel like hoarding. Anytime we can acknowledge our selfish desires or feelings of inadequacy with a nod and move beyond them, that is sacrifice. And the season is upon us.

Us runners know the word sacrifice well. We give plenty up to stand at the start line of a race and even more to land across the finish line. Ah, but what we get in return is all worth it: it makes our life complete!

Running consumes us and takes us in. With every step. Every breathe. Every sweaty, exhausted mile. Running make us a better “us.” That’s a given!

But isn't there more besides just running we need to do as "runners" to cross that finish line of a race? I mean, we can’t just always run if we want to be our best. There’s rest. Proper nutrition. Weight training. Injury prevention. Stretching. Hydration. Stress reduction…..

I’m pretty sure I’ve made it well known that I am just not feeling that well – physically or mentally – with my training. I’ve had a hard time picking up after Tucson and getting my head wrapped around the task at hand. I haven’t wanted to make myself a better me, to fight the fight I know it takes to get to Boston in the best possible shape. I haven’t sacrificed the sugar, the proper nutrition, the staying up too late to crank out one more thing, to push away the stress, to weight train properly. I can blame it on a barrage of excuses, some of which are legitimate but in the end, I haven’t wanted it badly enough to make the sacrifices. The pity-party I’ve been having has been self-gratifying - I can run and eat what I want and not sleep and run myself into the ground ….. and get sick and miss lots of training.

Lent couldn’t have come at a better time – time to put away the demons ……

After all, Lent is a season of sacrifice.

I’m ready.
Day 1: no sugar. Heading to bed "early." Mitigating early morning craziness with kids’ lunches packed, my lunch packed, clothes for tomorrow ironed - all the night before. I'm off to a good start!

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” - Pre

What did y’all sacrifice for the love of your beloved running today?
Running news:
Still not feeling great but hanging in there.
Monday: Easy 7
Tuesday: 1 mile wu + 2x3.5 @ 7:53 + 1 mile cd; weights/core
Wed: Easy 5 + weights/core

48 comments:

Rookie on the Run said...

GREAT post! I don't observe Lent... but maybe I should. I've been feeling a lot like you lately and am ready to get back to having a healthy lifestyle (less junk food, more sleep, more exercise, etc).

What do I sacrifice? I'd have to say my pride. I'm not a good runner. I'm not a fast runner. I'm pretty much the worst runner ever. BUT I still run, in spite of being the last of my running group to make it back to the start. I still run, even though eighty year old grandmas pass me up in races. And why? Because I love it! Because I've learned that pride isn't all it's cracked up to be. Because I'm learning to be comfortable with me. :)

Marathonman101108 said...

Hi Jill
Right now I'm sacrificing running, since I really don't have a choice. I'm at the mercy of my PT and his recommendations. Speaking of recommendations, I am going to print out the part you wrote about proper nutrition, weight training, injury prevention, stretching, hydration and stress reduction as a friendly reminder of what I need to focus on once I'm cleared to resume running. I haven't run since January 31, and I miss it immensly. Anyhow, good luck with your sacrifice(s), and I know you'll get back on track (and pavement!) running. You'd better, since I'm going to "Bawston" to see you and my Boston Marathon running blogging buddies in 61 days. I'll be nagging, I mean supporting, you between now and then!

ajh said...

I always sacrifice getting more done at work. Which may not sound like a sacrifice but it certainly makes my work days more harried and crazy.
Good luck with your new plan.

saundra said...

I understand first-hand the training funk that you are in as well as the nagging sinus infections. But you will bounce back so hang in there.
I am sacrificing more time to training. This week I started weight training again and am doing core work daily. I am also trying to get back to good in terms of nutrition.

Running and living said...

Good luck with the new plan! I completely agree about self care during marathon training. Did I tell you that I take naps Sat and Sundays, and close my eyes on the T for 20 min at the end of the day? For me, sleep is the most important factor! Now, what I don't understand is giving up sugar. Why would you do that? As a sugar junkie (love my candy and my Gu) that would be incredibly hard!

onelittletrigirl said...

This year, instead of giving something up, I am going to do something good for myself. Challenge myself in new ways with my work-outs. I know to the average person that might sound lame...but I have given up smoking, late-nights, soda, most red meat, most sugar and I have lost weight. Time to stopping giving UP and start just giving!

C2Iowa said...

Lent is a time of year that I look forward to seeing. I expect a lot from myself (year round) - most importantly now. I tend to give somethings up as well as helping others even more than "normal". There have been many others before me that have given the ultimate sacrifice for everyone including me.

I enjoyed your post. Best wishes that you make the turn with your health and training. Good luck with Lent. If it was easy --- we would not be talking/observing Lent.

Megan said...

For Lent I cut out liquor and give up meat on Fridays. I'm not a practicing Catholic but the rest of my family is.

What do I give up for running? Sleep of course. With two small girls my weekday running can only be done early in the AM. And since there's only so much money for the playing with, I wear too big pants b/c ive been using my play money for entering races and saving for the expo. I'm not sure that much of a sacrafice. :)

Staci Dombroski said...

I do not do lent either, but I love this post :-) I hope you have a wonderful day!!!

Jocelyn said...

Sorry you still haven't bounced back. It took me awhile after my last marathon. Way to stick with it though. :) Good luck on all your sacrifices. They are good ones though and I'm sure they will make you a better person mentally and physically

daily mom said...

for lent...i have given up soda and meat. and for running...i sacrifice my pride because i am not running many miles or doing it in great speed, but i love it!

Morgan said...

I still haven't figured out what I want to do. I eat healthy and train diligentily so I think I may commit to volunteering more... I still have time to think on this right?

Teamarcia said...

Beautifully written Jill. You are so right. Balance is such an elusive thing. The moment I think I'm coming remotely close to it, something changes to throw it off. So sorry you're not feeling it lately. This too shall pass. As for sacrifice, Like marathonman above, I am on injured reserve so no running. Geez I hope I'm not giving running up for Lent!

ShutUpandRun said...

Well said my friend. Doing stuff in life and for the people we love is a true excercise in sacrifice when it is not CONVENIENT. When it's convenient and easy - that's all fine and good, but it's when it's hard that we show our true colors. Good luck with giving up the sugar and hoping you are feeling better. Can't wait to meet you in person on the 28th!!

Anne Marie said...

I love this post;-) wow. really well written. And yeah, I don't observe Lent, but I'm motivated to do some of the things you stated above. Really focusing on the rest/proper nutrition, balancing the family, putting more energy that way...
thanks again for the post.

Adam said...

Great post.

I really wish that I could say that I gave up something awesome for lent, but I didn't. :(

HC said...

Great post. I often feel like I am struggling to achieve balance in my life. For Lent, I'm going to give up sleeping in (and I love my sleep), and who knows what that extra hour (or hours) will give me. Hang in there with your training, Lent may be just the change you need.

Velma said...

Great post - I am going to support you in your sugar free training!

Robyn said...

Good luck going sugar-free!

Marlene said...

What an interesting "spin" on sacrifice. Great post!

I hope everything works out well for you. Good luck!

Tricia said...

Lovely post. I don't observe Lent so I haven't put any thought into it. You're right though, I can still appreciate the idea behind it and maybe I should put some thought into participating simply for my own well being.

Melissa said...

Great post. I have decided to have a better attitude about some work things going on. I really hope that I'm able to do it.

shellyrm aka jogging stroller mama said...

Amazing post. Honestly. I loved it! I will read it again, I liked it so much.

Yeah you are off to a great start. I know know know you will keep it up.

I am humbled by the Lenton season. I do not feel anything I can give up is sufficent to what was given for me. I do fast (as my less than popular guest post reviewed) but I won't be doing that due to training for my 50k trail race. With big life issues on me I will probably fast after recovering for the race so clear my head but that's not Lent. Durning Lent I will make a bigger effort to share what is observed during this time with my kiddos so they understand (we do this every year). I will try to lessen some of the negative things I do (swearing at other drivers!...they deserve it sometimes.). but mostly I will attempt to remember that I should be doing all these things ALL the time. Not just during Lent. I hope I am. I fear that I fall short. Thankfully God forgives me.

I am thankful for friends I've found in bloggy world. I pray life brings me to meet many of them.

NY Wolve said...

Really nice post. I also wrote about Lent, but you related to running much more specifically and directly, a connection I failed to make. But one that you are absolutely right on. When friends said Wow, how did you run the marathon? I always want to say it is the product of 1000 decisions made over months of preparation, from the beers I didn't drink to the workouts that were pure trudgery.But the choices we make shape us as to who we are and what we achieve.

Stephanie Nichole said...

What a great post!!! I gave up some sugar too-- a lot actually! I'm giving up candy which has turned into a HUGE portion of my daily diet. Ick, right? Well I'm trying to shed a few lbs for a quicker pace and hopefully this helps.

Oooh also.. TAG! SUNSHINE! Check my most recent post-- you've been tagged!

-Steph

TallGuySurfing said...

I haven't sacrificed anything today. Now I feel bad. In fact, I just ate a huge chunk of 88 percent pure dark chocolate, but the purchase of that bar went to benefit the saving of endangered species... hmmm... I'm going to run hills tonight, maybe I'll figure something out before then.

Adam Culp (Crazy Floridian) said...

Today I sacrificed by having a painful day. My legs are aching pretty bad because I am not running. I know that they (and my toes) are still recovering from the 50 miler, even though they are begging me to turn them loose. I am holding strong, and will not run until the weekend...even though it hurts.

Julie said...

Hi Jill,
This is such an awesome post and you really are a talented writer:) Your written words have inspired me to make some minor changes/sacrifices in my own life. I grew up a good Catholic girl and used to really take lent seriously. Not so much anymore but reading your post has made me realize that making sacrifices does not have to be a lent thing. It can be a making me a better person thing or a making me be accountable thing. Thanks for that:) Jill I hope that you have a fabulous day!!

Katie A. said...

Aweseom post - I read it twice :)
I can totally relate to being out of touch with my training - I had this same problem as you when I was training for CIM - a race I had not heart in.
When I finally sat back and looked at what I wanted and needed from myself - my clarity came through. And although I didn't run the race, I managed to battle on through training and was in fine race form.
There is a lot to sacrifice as a runner - you're right, we know it all too well. Maybe this season, your sacrifice could be to take good care of yourself. Pushing yourself to the limits that you have forgotten about. Reminding yourself that you're worth it.
Hope this finds you well! ((huggss))

Heather said...

What an awesome post!

Tara said...

Ahhh, what a great post Jill. This one was definitely from your heart huh? I have a had time finding balance; especially right now with my job being so busy. And I HATE my job. Ok, I don't hate my job, I hate my profession.

Hang in there sweetheart! You'll get your mojo back. :)

Whitney said...

New to your blog, but love the stuff on sacrafice. Runners give up so much. Even though I've been running for 3 years, I still feel like such a newbie and it's hard to stay motivated.

runsinthefamily said...

Hi, I just discovered your blog - fantastic post. You put everything I've been thinking this week into words- thank you.

Irene said...

I'm interested in the no sugar thing. I know people who have done it, and once they've passed the first week it's "a piece of cake." *cough.* Seriously, though. ;)

PS
I've tagged you on my blog. :)

lindsay said...

i sacrifice chilling out/relaxing after work/before bed in order to run. early, long days at work mean i run 6:30pm and often i don't get home until 8:00. a quick shower, late dinner, few minutes online trying to catch up on blogs and woosh off to bed.

good luck kicking the sugar habit!

TX Runner Mom said...

Great post! I can definitely relate to all those feelings. I need to cut back on the sugar as well. I was doing great, but not so much lately. Maybe I will use Lent as my reason to do it!

onebadrunner said...

Good post.
I am giving up something but I haven't decided if it's really sacrificial or not...considered the sugar thing, but am making cinnamon rolls this weekend, I have to eat at least ONE! :-)
So glad God didn't take that role with us.

Anne said...

What a thoughtful post, Jill. This was the perfect dose of "nourishment" some of us needed today to bring that balance back into focus. I beats a bag of chips and cookies, that's for sure!

Mark said...

Great post, Jill. Bless you!

Anne said...

Excellent post Jill...so well-written and right on. May everything fall into place for you and hang in there!
I grew up French Catholic and I guess it led to a bit of an aversion to all that is religion. Therefore, I have never even considered doing anything for lent. However, this post tweaked my perceptions and allowed me to see it through a different lense...I will think about it...thank you for that.
What I give up for running is something a few others have mentioned...pride. I'm at the back of the pack and I don't love it. But, I want to be healthy and I really love running, so I swallow my pride and just do it. Thanks again for this post.

Jessica said...

I love being consumed by running. Good luck with Lent!
(this is seejessrun)

Robin said...

Hi Jill,
Had lunch with two of our blogging/running buddies today - Morgan (Redhead) and Jill (One Little Tri Girl), and your name came up. Then, while reading Meg's (Meg Runs!) answers to my interview questions, she specifically mentioned you as a favorite. That's all I needed to hear! And I'm very glad I took the time to find you. Your tag line says it all, but Wednesday's post nailed it. After some thinking and reading others' comments, I'm not sure what I'd say I've given up for running..need to think on this, but like Anne, I run at the back of the pack, and I'm okay with that. Maybe that's it: humility and competition with myself. Thanks for a beautiful post, words to think about...

Hugs from Orlando!

Jennifer said...

Hi Jill, behind on my blogging... you are gifted with words, I really enjoyed your 'lesson' this week. Less always equals more in life, so it might be a sacrifice now but we always gain something from it in the end. Cheers!

Shari said...

What a fabulous post, Jill! I will come back to this one again and again. A lot of times I focus on the sacrifices I make for my running - giving up free time, sleeping in, eating junk (okay, I at least THINK about making this sacrifice), etc. etc. But, like you said, I do gain so much for my sacrifice. I was thinking about the fact that I'm not the only one who sacrifices for my running.

I thought about the kids and how encouraging they are - on a daily basis and on race days. I thought about Michael going the extra mile to support my schedule - putting up with late dinners and early bedtimes, getting kids ready for school, bearing my Saturday morning disappearing acts. And thank YOU for taking the time to answer my questions, encourage me, and motivate me to be a better runner.

You've inspired me to move beyond my selfish feelings

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

Hugs to you!! so I will be in a town near you next weekend.. Will be there Saturday afternoon and will have some time Sat and Sunday.. What does your schedule and training look like?

Jenn said...

You should really be a writer. This is a great post! I think the biggest thing I've sacrificed for my running this cycle is the undivided attention I used to be able to give my kids. I used to watch their practices, I would listen to them read me their library books and tell me about their days etc. I feel like I am always preoccupied and even when I hear them I don't listen.... I know things need to be about me every now and again but my life is blur right now and as much as I love it the running has completely taken over my time and mind! May will be a bittersweet month!!

Denise said...

that was a really nice post. i didn't give anything up for lent this year...actually sort of forgot. i know, terrible.

but with running, i think we forget the sacrifices that our loved ones make for running, too. me and my husband didn't have our date night this wknd because i had a race on sat and long run sunday.

Leslie said...

Good luck with the no sugar Jill! You're a better woman than I :)