Making the Most of the Present

By Tanya

For me, 2012 brought forth many fitness highs and lows. It was my plan to run the same amount of races as I did in 2011- eight 10k's and two half marathons - with the omission of the full marathon. My dream was to break my previous PR's but I knew that would be really tough considering that I had a ridiculously fast first half marathon experience and I was still experiencing occasional knee pain from my over zealous first marathon training. Never the less, I like to dream big. I figured that if I trained smarter and listened to my body more, I'd be fine.

My first 10k went well and I felt good.  But as my training progressed I was not able to work up to the speed I had at this time last year pre-injury. In my mind I had resigned to the fact that last year was beginners luck on fresh legs and that I would most likely never run that fast again. When it came time for my first half marathon of 2012, I did in fact come up short. Regardless, I know I did the best I could and I was proud of my performance. After the race I took time off and then continued to train smart. However after the next 10k I once again found myself dealing with more pain. This time it was in my hip flexor and lower back.

I decided to go to physical therapy to try to fix the root issue. I was optimistic that once I started to correct the suspected cause of my pain - muscle imbalance and quad tightness - I'd be free to run like I mentally wanted to. A few months of PT brought more strength and stability, but the pain would pop back up after a few weeks of running. I continued on this roller coaster of a few good running weeks followed by a week of recovery for the rest of the year. The remainder of my 10k races fortunately fell on good running weeks and I was even able to break one PR from last year.  I tried to not get disheartened when my pain would flare up and I'd have to take a break from running.

My anticipated couple of months of PT turned into five with an additional one month at the chiropractor. I was able to run three miles on a treadmill but running outside caused my back to lock up. I gave up the second half marathon I had hoped to run again in December.

Is it where I wanted to be? No. I wanted to be outside running. But I did my best to maintain a good attitude and work with what my body had to to offer. This meant doing most of my workouts on the elliptical at the gym or in the swimming pool. I am grateful that through it all I was still motivated to get any kind of a workout and I was able to continue my cross training and retain some of my fitness.

With the first race of the 2013 ORRC 10k series fast approaching, I had to seriously evaluate my running plans for this year. I prayed and wrestled and came to the conclusion that this year I should just take each day as it comes. I opted not to sign up for the 10k series or pre-register for any race while my body remains in this state.

I'll be honest.  It was a tough decision to make. After falling in love with running and racing it's hard  know what I'm missing out on. It's frustrating to mentally be ready to go, but have a body that will not cooperate. Also it's tough to not be out there running with all my running friends. I often have to check my attitude and replace my envy with gratitude.

Personal goals, dreams, and desires can give us direction, hope, and motivation. But a problem can arise when our "happiness" is dependent on them. I often get so focused on the future that I forget to live fully in the present. There is a great quote from my kids' movie Kung Fu Panda that says, "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the 'present'."

It is still my dream to run an ultra marathon.

It is still my desire to be outside running.

But for today, I choose to do the best with where I am.

No matter where you find yourself today - whether you are chasing down your dreams, or like me, swimming in a sea of uncertainty - may you always remember that life is a gift. Won't you join me in making the most of the present?


  1. Being injured is so tough. My 2012 was really rocky too. Half of the races I registered for I couldn't run. I was devastated! This year I am being super cautious and not registering for most races that I already would have paid for. If they are sold out then they are and it wasn't meant to be. Hopefully I keep progressing and can run them, but at this point I also need to be happy where I am. I think for over a year I took running for granted. Now everyday I run I tell myself "I don't have to run, I get to run".

  2. Sorry that 2012 was not as you had hoped. I know God has plans in all of this, and that you will grow in patience and compassion for others, but it is still hard to deal with injury sometimes.

    I think you are wise to wait on Him regarding which races you will do. He will direct your steps!

  3. Tanya, this is SO where I am at too. In fact, I was just sitting down to write a blog post about what I AM able to do right now and choosing to be thankful when this popped up on Carissa's Facebook page.

    Know that God guided your words through this because it has encouraged my heart so much to 1) know that I'm not alone, and 2) know that He's gently reminding me to be thankful in the present.

    Thank you for these words!

    1. Devon, I hear you! Although it can feel lonely at times, I find that there is such a wonderful community of honest women bloggers that there is always someone with an encouraging word. We are blessed to have eachother!

  4. Well said Raina. My thoughts exactly.
    Tasha, I'm sorry you also had a tough year in 2012. I do love your attitude of gratitude about running. I'm also going to extend it to whatever excercise I get to do. It is a blessing to be healthy and active!

  5. Thanks for the testimony, Tanya! Living in the present is definitely a challenge for me, too. I'll be praying for you and your running goals in the new year! Much love.

    1. Thanks Stephen! I hope this year brings you much peace and joy as you make the most of the present. I appreciate your prayers and I'll be praying for you too.