Tag Archives: Running

But I Don’t Want to Run a Marathon!

“Exercising In The Park” by mapichai from FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, (Hebrews 12:1(b) NRS)

“But I don’t want to run a marathon!”

I think every parent of a child with special needs has received the pep talk, “This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.  Pace yourself.”

This is great advice for all of us who are caregivers to children who have extraordinary needs. Pay attention to how you care for yourself, how you spread your energy, so that you don’t burn out and you have enough in the tank for the long road ahead. But what if running a marathon was never your goal? What if your personal road to acceptance means literally have running 26.2 miles?

Special needs parent Elizabeth Elder joined one of my support groups and shared her inspiring story:

My husband, James, and I have two beautiful children, a four year old daughter, Annabelle, and a three year old son, Blair. Both of our children were recently diagnosed with a rare mitochondrial disorder that has caused significant developmental delays and mobility challenges. Although we believe they will eventually walk and hopefully run someday, they can’t right now. In fact, they work very hard to sit up on their own. But what they lack in strength, they make up in determination, while flashing the most infectious smiles!

Frankly, running a full marathon has never interested me. Until one day about five months ago… I was having a difficult day and my dear husband gave me a pep talk. Having run the New York City marathon himself in 2009, James likened our challenge to running the marathon. He explained how our situation is not like a sprint. We can’t just give it our all with the comfort of knowing it will quickly be over. Instead, we have to follow our kids’ lead and give it our all, day after day, knowing that we have a long road ahead of us. To that, I responded, “but I don’t want to run a marathon!”

The next day I was actually on a run when I had a great epiphany: I CAN run a marathon and I WILL! From that moment, I accepted the road we are on and decided to use my strength to embrace what I have: an able body and two disabled children. Running a marathon is a huge personal achievement for anyone. However for me, running the NYC marathon is about overcoming challenges and proving that perseverance wins.

So on November 1st, I can and I will give it everything I have in honor of Annabelle and Blair and every other determined soul who doesn’t let their disabled body stop them from their own marathon.

Elizabeth has taken on training for the NYC Marathon in order to raise awareness and funds for Achilles International.  So far, friends and family has helped her raise over $7,000, far exceeding her original goal.  I hope my readers will join me in wishing her well and prayers for a successful journey, both physically and emotionally. You can learn more about Achilles International, a charity for children with disabilities and war veterans, here: Achilles International

Family hiking

Supporting God, Help each of us run with perseverance the task set before us. The fact that it is hard at times reminds us that we need you.  We lift up Elizabeth in her goal for NYC and pray blessings on her journey of self-discovery. Amen

Rev Doc Lorna

“Exercising In The Park” by mapichai from FreeDigitalPhotos.Net.jpg

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Run, Run, Run

Racetrack

“Later you get pie!” Words to live by shouted to me by a cheering spectator as I ran mile after mile in a recent half marathon. Seriously, spending my calorie bank after a race makes me very happy. One of my favorite parts of running races is the motivational signs. Okay, that and the finish line.

I enjoy reading the funny signs along the course:
Better hurry! People are chasing you!
Worst parade ever!
Free bananas ahead!
The end is near! (Held by a person dressed like the grim reaper).

When I am starting to feel a little tired around mile 8 or 10, inspiration is a fine thing:
Never, never, never, give up
Focus on how far you’ve come, not how far you have to go
The voice in your head that says “you can’t” is a liar

Wouldn’t it be great for us special needs parents if we had motivational signs to encourage us with the task of parenting?

To the parent on the start of a quest for a diagnosis: Never, never, never give up!
It took our family 17 years to move through ADHD, OCD, Tourettes, and anxiety diagnoses finally to have a name for all those behaviors. Asperger’s. Someone out there has the answer.

To the parent of a middle-schooler dealing with hormones coming into play and new sets of challenges: Focus on how far you’ve come, not how far you have to go! Infancy gave way to the preschool and elementary years. Those are all behind you now and you have raised a remarkable child. Job well done! Stretch your arm high in the air, bend it, and give yourself a good pat on the back for the awesome job you have done. Look how far you have come!

To the parent who has reached the limit: The voice in your head that says “you can’t” is a liar! Are you taking time to care for yourself? How can you make that a priority? All those folks who say, “Call me if you need anything.” Call them. Really. They want you to because they care. It doesn’t mean you are weak. It means you are human. Even Jesus took a break from time to time to go away for respite so he could return to his work in ministry refreshed and renewed. Plus, he didn’t go it alone. He depended on his friends. If it worked for Jesus, it’s worth trying.

The Bible is full of motivation for special needs parents.

“Run with perseverance the race set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1b, NRSV)
“I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13, NRSV)
“Do not worry about anything…” (Philippians 4:3a, NRSV)
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 NRSV)

Parenting is a sacred duty and the most important thing we get to do with our lives. As special needs parents, we have a heaping big portion of parenting. Fortunately, we have a heaping big God helping us, cheering us on for the road ahead.

Image “Racetrack” courtesy of Photokanok / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mile Markers

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I enjoy running and regularly log about 15-20 miles a week.  Yes, I’m one of “those” people who sets an alarm for 4 a.m. to get in a run before the sun comes up, but I live in Texas so I have a good excuse for my personal kind of crazy. I need a regular dose of endorphins and time outdoors enjoying God’s creation when the only sounds are my feet on the pavement, air moving in and out of my lungs, and the stir of the breeze through the trees. Of course, sometimes creation welcomes me with mosquitos and the special brand of “air that you wear” unique to the humid gulf coast. It’s kind of a mixed blessing!

Being a bit competitive by nature, I enter four or so half marathons a year. I find that I prefer the challenge of longer distance races.  Maybe that has to do with being a mother to a child with special needs.  I’ve learned as a parent to set long term goals and plot the incremental steps in getting there. One step at a time, one therapy at a time.  I always start out on race day with a plan: pace, nutrition, hydration, all plotted out based on the mile markers.  Those mile markers are so important, reminders of how far I’ve come and how far I still have to go. I also use them as reminders to take an inventory. Am I hurting? Am I tired? Do I need to do some self-care?

Mile markers are HUGE!

I’m thinking of mile markers because a dear friend has a son who is turning two today. That is a huge mile marker.  I look back at how far he has come and look ahead at how far he has to go.  So do his parents.   At this particular mile marker, his mom is hurting today and I hurt for her.  Mile markers are tough when where we are doesn’t match the plan we had back at the start line.  As parents, we can’t help but take stock at certain times, looking for developmental mile markers that should have been reached, but remain ahead (we hope!) in a future we cannot see.

When faced with what we do not know, there is comfort in going back to what we do know.  Where Is God in the life of my friend’s family today? Over 2,500 years ago the prophet Jeremiah wrote to the people of God who were living in exile with an uncertain future that they could not see.  They longed to be in a place miles away, yet could not see a way to get there.  Jeremiah shared this message with the people.

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (NRSV)

God’s plan is not for anxiety and worry.  Rather, God’s plan is for their welfare and a future with hope. God doesn’t promise us perfect, but God does promise that he is for us and with us at every single mile marker. When we are hurting, and not where we thought we would be in our lives, God’s message is one of comfort and hope. I pray that for my friend today.

I am not negating my friend’s very real feelings.  It’s painful.  I get it. I’ve lived it with my own child, as has every parent of a child with differences. Maybe my lesson learned in running applies back to parenting.  Mile markers are a good time to check in with ourselves as parents and ask, “Am I hurting? Am I tired? Do I need to do some self-care?” When we pay attention to what we are experiencing within ourselves, then we can take care of those needs, helping us to refocus on God’s promised future waiting for us just around the corner.