Lesson 20- Trust Your Training and Believe

Here is the fitness lesson you knew was coming. I could not walk 60 miles and not learn something. (It is a long one, so settle in.) First, let me say that this walk was one of the hardest things I have ever done. There were many times along the way I wanted to quit. Pushing your body beyond what you think it is capable of is a scary thing. I didn’t want to hurt myself, but at the same time I wanted to finish what I started. So, I took my own advice from lesson 19…I kept going. When I wrote that lesson, I did not know that Energizer is one of the sponsors of the walk. Everywhere along the way, there were signs that said, “Keep Going.” The Energizer Bunny was even in camp with us. Talk about getting the message. I got it, and got it, and got it, at every turn God was bringing my own words back to me.
As we started Friday morning, I felt pretty good. I was as prepared as I knew how to be. Good shoes. Full water bottle. Lots of stretching. Snacks at each stop. I was expecting blisters, so I did a preemptive wrapping of my toes along with a preemptive advil, just in case. I wore toe socks to minimize toe to toe contact. I used friction blocker on my feet. I took extra socks. I had my glucose meter. I had band aids, scissors, and bandages. As the day progressed, I continued to do well. My feet got sore, as did my hips and knees, but overall I was in pretty good shape. It was late in the day before I felt a blister on my little toe. When I got to camp and removed my shoe, it busted and then dried out overnight. I was kind of amazed that I didn’t have more trouble.
The next day the lines at the medical tents got longer. People developed shin splints, bad knees and hips along with other muscular issues. The sports medicine guys told one of my teammates that if you don’t use your muscles properly the others over compensate causing inflammation, pain and all sorts of troubles. I was very sore…taking advil every 6 hours…but still walking. My blister was not too bad because I had it wrapped well. I was exhausted from lack of sleep. My body was screaming at me, but I still did not have major complications, and still only one blister. Every night I wondered how in the world will I do this again tomorrow. Every morning, I got up and felt rested. Day three, the walkers, all of us, were limping and groaning as we walked. Our pace was greatly slowed. We stretched more. We drank more. The sun was hot, heat exhaustion set in for Hannah. Ice and electrolytes fixed her up and we kept on going until we crossed the finish line. All of this to say, I did so much better than I ever thought I could. It was grueling, but when I finished it was exhilarating.
The lesson is to trust your training. I will tell you that all of the work that I have done in the past months has made me strong. It took something as challenging as this for me to see how much progress I have made. It is difficult for overweight people to see ourselves as strong. We feel weak all the time. The mindset kicks in that we cannot do something because of our size or because of the medical conditions caused by our size. The first time a task gets hard, we back off. We think it is physical, but it is not. It is our victim mentality. Dieting and weight loss just confirms what we already think…we are a hopeless cause. So we give up.
This time it is different for me. This time I am making significant progress with more than just weight. I am becoming more fit. Still a long way to go but I am continuing to move forward. The muscles I have been building in Jazzercise helped me get across that finish line. I have worked all of them several times a week. The stretching, the weights and the cardio all combine to build my core. (I see you smiling Sonya!) It WORKS!
But what I found, is that I didn’t know that…not really. I didn’t really believe that my training was going to help…I mean to loose weight yes, but to become some kind of athlete? No way. I am so used to failing. I have spent a lifetime hating exercise because I could never do it. It was a hard mental jump for me, in the midst of the physical challenge, to believe in myself and the work I have done. In my head, each day I was expecting to have something go wrong with my body. I was cautious. Then as the days went by, I began to believe. I can do it. It is not impossible. The muscles I had been building kicked in. I could actually feel them working. Laugh if you want, but that is a totally foreign thing to me! In the end, I crossed the finish line knowing that I can do so much more than I ever dreamed.
Pardon the length…but now for the spiritual application. Trust your training. Be prepared. You cannot go into some life hardship without training first. You will not make it through. You will collapse. It is what you do before the trial that will determine how you weather the storm. It doesn’t matter what the storm is. Cancer. Divorce. Death. Fire. Miscarriage. Disease. You have to prepare now in order to be strong in your weakness later. It is a paradox.
How do you train? Same as for a walk. Drink lots of living water. Eat from the bread of life often. Shod your feet with peace. Stretch your spiritual muscles regularly. Prepare for attack preemptively. Put on your armor. Carry your tools with you, in your heart. Then when the trials come, having done all…stand firm. Believe in your training. Know that you are prepared. Renew your mind, that says you cannot accomplish it to match the truth…you CAN do it. You are stronger than you think. Your spiritual muscles will work when you need them most. Know that you are in the position to finish well. Nothing is impossible for you if you trust your training and believe.

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