A Date with Physical Therapy & Getting Personal

Orlando SunsetA few months ago I signed up for my very first half marathon – the Chicago Women’s Half.  Up until 2 weeks ago I was in serious training mode.  I was following the Hal Higdon training program very closely.  I was increasing my miles and feeling so incredibly great I can’t even explain it other than running is was good for my soul

Then something happened.  I woke up with a terrible pain in my hip flexor.  Here’s where we get personal –  I tried for a week to stretch, do low/no impact exercises, ice, take medicine, research, you-name-it-I-did-it.  Everything short of going to the doctor.  With 2 weeks until the race, I started to freak out.  Literally. Self talk got to me saying “how can this be happening?,”  “I’ve trained so hard,” “I wanted this so bad,” “my ticket is bought, hotel reserved, race paid for,”  “now this?,” “why me?.”  That was one of the worst days I have had in a really, really long time.  (luckily by the grace of God, it only lasted a day – keep reading) I felt like I had been defeated without even a fair shot.  It took a few hours of talking with the insurance company to ask about my options and how much this would cost, doctors about appointments and how much this would cost and then some advice from my counselor to point me in the right direction. 

The last part was critical.  Yes, I see a counselor.  Yes, I have issues, don’t you (be honest)!?  Yes, I pay to tell someone my problems with hopes to get some guidance.  And let me just say, the-day-of-feeling-completely-defeated, was revived by a session with my counselor who helped put stuff into perspective… Isn’t it amazing how God puts people in our lives at exactly the right time for an exact purpose even if it’s not clear to us why?   

So let me rewind to a few days prior to my day-of-feeling-completely-defeated.  My church started a new series on The Wilderness.  The message, in short, was from Matthew 4:1-11 where Jesus goes into the wilderness and is tested by the devil in appetite, applause and authority.  In each situation, Jesus overcomes the devil and gives us tools to overcome the devil when we are tempted in these exact same areas.  Jesus faced temptation the same way we are faced by it and there are two specific things Jesus teaches us.  #1 – Jesus anchored himself in the word of God.  In each test, Jesus overcame the devil by citing scripture and standing on the word.  #2 – Jesus made a definite decision and did not negotiate with temptation.  This message hit home because it reminded me that everyone is faced with trials and we are made to overcome them.  James 1: 2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Another part of the service was a short blurb on Serve Your City a 2 week outreach to ignite service in the community, to reach lives and help others.  My church was commissioned by Mayor Alvin Brown to do Serve Your City and  I felt a tugging on my heart to get involved.  If only for these 2 weeks, if only one event, I know I can make a difference.  So, on fire and excited, I signed up to serve.  That was Sunday.  Monday morning I woke up in more pain than before and decided I needed to call the doctor if I want any chance to run the race I HAD TO RUN.  This was the day-of-feeling-completely-defeated.

So let’s get back to my counseling session.  I went in the session feeling defeated.  The race I had to run, the one I have given up nights and weekends for, paid a lot of money for, took time off work for, blogged about and thought about for 2 months was in jeopardy.  I had to run but now felt, how can I?  Why is this happening when everything was going according to my plan the day before.  In fact, it was going better than planned with a new opportunity to serve my community and meet new people.  But this race, it meant the world to me and now was something I might not be able to finish.  Or start.  One point my counselor made was, “will you be ok with the fact that you might not get to run?  If the doctor says no running, will you please not run?” 

Not run?!  Lady are you kidding me!!!  This is what I’ve worked for.  This is who I am.  Not running isn’t an option.  The doctors can do whatever to get me running.  I need to run for my soul…  That’s where I was wrong.  Way wrong.  What I needed was to TRUST GOD.  Trust that His will is going to be done according to His time and His purpose.  This was really hard for me to grasp in the moment. (Again- determined Cassie thought, I have to run)  In moments when my hip doesn’t hurt, I find myself going to “oh yes, I AM RUNNING.”  Only because my hip doesn’t hurt for that moment.  I am dumb.  I move, it hurts again.  So through my counseling session, we worked on how God might have a bigger purpose for me than running this race.  Maybe He is going to use me in another way.  I have to be open to look for and follow His way, not the way of my flesh, just to cross the finish line and stop my Garmin. 

Then the counseling session turned back to the message.  I’ve taken a step into serving, getting involved and advancing God’s kingdom.  What happens?  I get tested!  I get tested in my trust in the Lord, my vulnerability to let God lead and not by my ways, but His.  I think my  day-of-feeling-completely-defeated was a test of the devil saying you’re not as strong as you think you are.  You’re trying to share God’s love and I’m going to take your strength away so you feel hopeless and helpless.  Well guess what?!?  God’s placed amazing Christians in my life at exactly the right time for the right reasons and through my counselor talking to me, I was able to articulate this and know that I am strong, I am ok and I am going to trust God completely to get me through this, His way.

So that’s what I did.  That’s what I am doing (I have to remind myself of this everyday).  If I can’t run in 6 days, I can’t run in 6 days.  I will still enjoy Chicago with my sister and friend and maybe I can help out at the race and share God’s love to others.  That’s what this life is about anyway.  Relationships.  It’s not about a stupid silly run and beating records (even if that does feel really good).  It’s about eternal records.  The number of lives saved.  The number of people served and loved.  That feels better than any race ever can.  

Physical Therapy MedsI’ve also learned that I have to trust doctors.  God gave us doctors to treat the sick and heal the hurt.  So I’m going to physical therapy.  I went to 2 sessions last week and will do 3 this week before the race.  If we can get my hip rehabbed to run, then I’ll run with a heart full of God’s love and grace.  If I still hurt in a week, I will do something else with a heart full of God’s love and grace. 

On a lighter note – I’ve never done PT before, never really known any details about it and here I am a full-blown, everyone there knows me, rehabber.  I just want to share one short story about my session last Friday…. So the doctor puts the sticker thing (pictured) on the part that hurts the most then another on my quad.  Then they attach a wire and say “ok, you have 10 minutes.”  I thought, oh gosh, what is this?  Why does this not look good?  And then it began- the feeling of little pins and needles tapping my skin over and over and over again.  Perhaps this is similar to a tatoo?  I’d rather not know.  Golf was on TV and I was fixated on the tournament in an attempt to distract me.  10 minutes later.  “ok keep the top one of for another hour”  Another hour!?!  Are they crazy?  That was hell!  But I realized after they took off the wires, the needles stopped.  I really need to work on this trust thing more!

So I have date with PT in the morning… 7am… I can only imagine what tomorrow will bring!?

A few things I learned from this experience:

  1. I’m not in control and that’s ok. God is.
  2. When something doesn’t go according to plan, that’s ok.  It’s going according to God’s plan.
  3. I still don’t know what next week brings and that’s ok.  God knows.
  4. I have no idea what the purpose is of the pain/needles of PT and that’s ok.  God has commissioned the doctors to heal.
  5. Sharing my story with other isn’t going to be easy and that’s ok.  God is with me.

Boom Boom and the Dog Park

Boomer park2

In 2013, I visited a dog park for the first time ever (I know, I know, where have I been?).  For the sake of this post, let’s pretend dog poo doesn’t exist.  Deal? Deal.  So I fell in love with everything! (remember, you agreed, dog poo doesn’t exist!)  The paths in the woods, the big lake and open grass area, the muddy, soggy tennis balls, chewed up frisbees, big dogs, little dogs, and what could be my favorite – the dog owners.  The dog park reminds me of an organic vegan local restaurant… everyone is so happy and calm.  The dogs just explore but the people seem so peaceful!  Maybe I’m being too general because this is how I feel at the dog park, maybe I’m not.

So let me introduce you to Boomer (I call him Boom Boom – which kind of defeats the main purpose of a nickname – to decrease the number of syllables – but let’s go with it!).  Boom Boom is my friend’s husband’s dog.  For those of you who have dogs, you can appreciate the my dog your dog thing, especially if the dog misbehaves!  Anyway, I got to spend the whole weekend with Boom Boom and decided to go to the dog park on Sunday.  I think Boom Boom was tired of me debating what dog park to go to, he just covered his eyes until I made a decision…

Boomer and C

Dog Wood Park  won!  We left for the park after Church and got there eager to play!  Boom Boom ran like the wind through the forest and I had quite an adventure trying to follow him.   When I called his name, he came back quickly… until he found some friends…

Boomer park

…and like that he was off!  After a few minutes at the park, we ran into someone I know and Boomer made more friends very quickly.  I really think dogs are more and more like kids the more I think about it.  Let’s do a little assessment:

We give dogs nicknames and clothes (c’mon you know you’ve at least thought about it).  Their schedule becomes our schedule.  They love us and we love them no matter how bad their behavior is.  We take them to places to play with others and burn off some of that energy.  They rely on us for food, water and shelter.  Sounds pretty similar right?! 🙂

Boomer

The best part about the dog park is seeing how happy all the dogs are (ok most – you know there’s always one person who brings the dog who doesn’t like anyone).  The second best part and could be the funniest is that after the dog park, within minutes, the dogs are always sound asleep!  I find it funny because it reminds me of when I was younger and thought I could play endlessly with my friends.  Until my mom picked me up and I would fall asleep in the car even before we got home.  I’m sure her happiness relief that I was asleep and stopped talking is a similar joy that the dog park brings me… simply peaceful.

Boomski did so great at the dog park.  Boomski is another nickname for Boomer.  Now that I think about this, no wonder why Boomer doesn’t always listen to me, I have too many names for him!   He was one happy dog!

And I was one happy girl!  After the dog park, I finished the book Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. One of the chapters started out with this quote:

Boomer quote

This sort of summed up my weekend season in life.  My goals for 2013 are to just be happy, do happy and share happy.  Dog parks are for sure on my list for things to do that bring me happiness.  This makes me come alive and showing my happiness is exactly what we need in this world.  What is you happy?  What makes you come alive?

Find it. Do it.

Counting Down and Training Up – the Race is ON!

be freeI signed up… I signed up… wait… I SIGNED UP!! June 23 – My.First. Half. Marathon.

I will be running my first 13.1 miles at the Chicago Women’s Half . I have been training for a half since I did the Katie Ride but haven’t picked one to run in (I know – backwards – typical). This weekend my flight was set, hotel booked and race registered! My sister and a friend will be joining me in Chicago as we make a mini vacation out of it. 🙂

I can’t really describe the feeling I get when I run. Obviously the “runner’s high” is there but describing the feeling is tough. So let me try… this year has been a year of extreme testing, to say the least. It’s been one of the toughest years I’ve ever had but I’ve also grown more this year than I have in all the other years of my life, combined. I’ve also gotten to experience joy, peace and grace more than ever before. I’ve stretched my comfort zone and did a lot of firsts (started this blog, did a bike race, doing a half marathon and joined a book club, just to name a few). Through the grace of God I’ve found peace and joy knowing I’m exactly where I’m meant to be and on the right path. So when I run, I think about all this. I think about all these accomplishments and all the trials. All the blessings and opportunities I’ve been given. I think about how amazing the body is to be able to run for miles on end. I listen to loud music and just clear my mind. Most times, you’ll see me running with a smile on my face because of how truly happy and free I am. I don’t run to run away from something, but I run to run towards everything. To run towards my happiness, my future, my greatness. This is what the runner’s high means to me.

I know I think too much about stuff… obviously, or I wouldn’t be able to take 2 words like “runner’s high” and make a paragraph out of it, but I also like to take the time to clear everything. I’ve learned to love Yoga. Practicing yoga and deep breathing is (almost) as relaxing as a swedish massage! (Note: I said I’ve learned to love yoga – it wasn’t a natural thing. I’m a super busy body but have learned to love breathing with intention.)

Many people can attest that their biggest achievements came from the hardest times. If this year was any testimony of that, then I’m sort of a walking billboard.

So here’s to my half! I’m counting down and training up!!

~ Love ~ Cassie ~