If I were an advertisement, my slogan would be, “I get it done.” I’m a worker, an ox, a lifter, a carrier with a quintessential American Go-Go-Go attitude. On the athletic front, I have participated in endurance events, completing three stand-alone marathons and three ironman triathlons, which is pretty solid. God has taught me a great many things through my endurance preparation as training requires perseverance and patience.
One of the most consequential and yet most difficult things that God has shown me is the importance of rest. According to the world creation story in Genesis, God took respite on the seventh day. Yet even though God felt the need for recharging, downtime is difficult for Americans. In my travels and readings, rest seems especially onerous for those living in the USA in comparison with other cultures.
America is a high-octane nation with a strong focus on the ticking second hand. How long is this going to take? How much can I fit into a day? Rush, work, rush, work. Rest is not a valued commodity in our culture.
I retired from endurance racing after my last ironman in 2011. It wasn’t something that I chose, but it was something that chose me. I was mentally tired from the workout regimen needed to sustain endurance training. My brain longed to focus on something else other than work and exercise. I needed rest. And so I did.
At least I did until about six months ago, when I felt an internal summons back to road running. I missed the peace and orderliness that accompanies a training schedule. During my first race, the external sounds of the other runners fell away, I heard the road say to me, “Welcome back,” which was truly awe inspiring.
Unfortunately, I had been aggressive in my training plan and made a poor training choice that resulted in a hamstring injury. I then had to be gentle with myself and train for the race through the injury while incorporating healing time. Forcible rest. Not ideal.
This training period I’m trying to train and rest simultaneously, which is not easy. I’m trying to go slower when I need to go slower and to listen to my body and spirit as I go. I’m back out there, hoping to make a lasting change in the way I approach training, and honestly, in the way I approach life. I need to integrate rejuvenation into my concept of “getting it done” because, truthfully, if I don’t rest, I won’t actually get it done. Moderation and balance are keys.
Not all good things are good all the time, but some good things are great at the right time. See you tomorrow, road. Today’s my day off.