When Things Don't Go as Planned

by Jodi

Life has a way of turning things upside down.  When things don't go as we planned, we still have to roll with it.  Carissa, Devon and I have all experienced that in the past couple of weeks.

We have been training for a race this Saturday.  We set aside weeks of effort in training, speed work, and intentionality to be top speed on race day. Things looked good for personal records for all of us.

But Carissa got sick.  Her sickness has lingered on and on. Eleven days with the stomach flu and once that was better a sore throat appeared.   As a result her heaviest week of speed work got wiped out and replaced with being on the couch (as much as life allows with three busy sons and a husband).

Devon decided to grow a kidney stone that seems to REALLY like her a lot because it doesn't want to leave her body. And now she caught that miserable cold that's going around.  Stuffy and congested, she's wondering if she'll even be able to run on Saturday.  Coming from an experienced runner who was training at ridiculously fast paces, this is a huge blow.
This was the day they both started feeling rotten.
Then there's me - the Wild Card.  I always train hard, but I've never trained in such a speed-focused way before.  I am comfortable being the slowest one in my bunch of super speedy friends.  It's a given that Carissa will always beat me to the finish so I can count on her cheering me into the finish by name.  But she's sick.  And Devon (who is also faster than me) is sick.  This leaves me as the only healthy runner in our friend pool.  I just happen to be running faster than I ever have in my life right now which means I could be the first to cross the finish line if Devon doesn't hurry up and get better. None of us are in positions that are familiar or comfortable right now.
Carissa wouldn't let me slow down on this run - the first long speed workout of this training cycle for me.
For weeks we've been texting each other with health, training, and life updates.  Celebrating each other's victories and praying for those little (and big) things that keep us up at night and make our hearts heavy.  Now we have all this illness and uncertainty. None of us know what Saturday will look like and it's unnerving.

We've been running long enough to know that no one will remember our race time from Saturday except us.  We care about the number on the watch, the pace per mile, and whether it was faster or slower than our last race, but our finish times don't really matter in the grand scheme of life.  This is an easy thing to say but much harder to actually embrace and accept when weeks of training are being sabotaged by illness.

Our number one goal is to bring fame to Jesus through our training and racing.  Our time on the run is often spent worshipping Him and praying for others.  We run for his fame and glory.  Maybe the way we bring Jesus fame on Saturday is with good attitudes and best efforts with what our bodies give us to work with on Saturday morning.  For me that could mean taking myself seriously enough to use the speed God has given me right now to race hard all 13.1 miles.  For Carissa and Devon it could mean that in their weakness, He is strong.

Today Carissa texted us a verse from the second letter to Timothy.  The Message translates it this way, "RUN after mature righteousness - faith, love, peace - joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God."

I texted back, "Love it.  It will be my prayer this week.  Run after the stuff that's really important and how do we do it?  Through prayer.  We've already been training for this."
So this picture is a little blurry but I love.  Two of my four kids got baptized on January 5th.  Carissa came to support them and to pass the Kleenex to me.  That's what you call running through life together!
Not much of the last two weeks have gone as we planned.  Surprisingly that's okay.  Really.  Because Carissa, Devon and I have been training in other ways too.  Training in how to run through life... together.  I'll take that over a number on a watch any day!


  1. Ok, I'm trying not to cry only because it makes my nose run more! This is PERFECT, Jodi. It embodies everything I feel and everything I want to remember about training, racing, and life. You put it beautifully and I'm so thankful to be a part of this. Who knows what God has in store for Saturday, but in the grand scheme of things, He's used Saturday to strengthen (and build from scratch) friendship, fellowship, and a desire to RUN after HIM!

    1. I couldn't agree more Devon. For me Scio will be about the before rather than the actual race. I have no expectations going in and shocking as it may seem don't care about the time on the clock. It's funny how the last two races I've attempted have gone horribly wrong despite weeks of strong training. Is God trying to tell me something??? Maybe I'm not supposed to be racing during this season...

    2. Interesting thought C. Maybe? Or maybe it's about running to run. You and Tanya are so good at encouraging. The Heartbreaker Half photos popped up on my screen saver last night. The one of you reaching out your hand to me so we could run across the finish line always makes me cry. (I'm wiping tears now). Maybe God is using this time to remind you how He's gifted you and give you the freedom to enjoy your run on Saturday. Scio is beautiful country. May God's Spirit flow through you and may He stun you with His incredible creative genius.

    3. Devon - I love how we learn so much about LIFE from running. Who would have thought it would be one of my primary forms of worship?