Updated: Feb 10, 2020
By Lori Giesey
In March of 2013, I felt like I was at the top of my health game. I had been training since mid-December for my first full marathon and had knocked a full minute off my estimated pace time.
With the race only four weeks away, I was feeling pretty confident that I had prepared myself to run my best race ever. Little did I know that just one week later, everything would change.
After an amazing twenty-mile training run, shower, and breakfast, I sat listening to an apostle speak at General Conference, when, suddenly, and without warning, I found myself being propelled off the couch by a sharp pain in my left leg. My left abductor had seized into a tight wad with no sign of releasing its savage grip. Hobbling around the room, I spent the next twenty minutes alternating between rubbing the muscle to calm it down and trying to “walk it out.”
When it finally released, all I could think about was how relieved I was that the next day was only a seven-mile, “easy” training run where I planned to keep the pace nice and slow. I was positive that I was going to be sore in the morning.
The next day, before the sun was up, I rolled out of bed, gingerly putting my feet on the ground to test the muscle’s residual anger level. Within the first few steps, I knew my prediction had come true. Hoping it would loosen up, I prepared and set off for my training run. The first two miles were tough, but as the muscle warmed up and stretched, it felt decent; by the time I had finished mile seven, I thought everything was going to be okay—until it wasn’t.
The following morning, that abductor was still not happy with me and as I tried to run the first couple of miles and “push through,” the pain became so intense that I instinctively knew this was not going to just “go away.” While walking home, I called the chiropractor’s office and was relieved to hear he just had a cancelation and had time for me in an hour. What a blessing from heaven.
After the adjustment, my chiropractor suggested I see the massage therapist to see if he could help. “Oh, and you might think about taking the next day or two off from training.”
I scoffed. “I’m three weeks out from my race. I cannot take time off now! Are you kidding me?” He just quietly turned and walked away.
Slow down… No way! And lose everything I have worked so hard for? This has to heal and now! I thought to myself as I hobbled out the door.
I did see the massage therapist who finished by putting kinesiology tape on the muscle to help hold it in place and told me to go home and try running a mile or two to test it out. I was in such conflict. My chiropractor was saying stay off of it and the massage therapist was giving me permission to test the waters.
At home, I laced up my running shoes, as my husband questioned where I was going.
“Out for a run,” I responded.
“Be careful,” he called after me.
I took off slowly out the door and down the street. It was tender, but I kept moving forward at a gentle pace. About three-quarters of a mile from home pain tore through my muscle and tears exploded from my eyes.
Oh No! What have I done!
Limping down the sidewalk, the house seemed so far away that I thought about calling my husband to come and get me. Even then, however, I was not going to stop. Head hanging low, humiliation setting in, I limped back into the house. Feeling discouraged, I laid down on the bed, praying that God would see fit to fix this for me so I could run my race.
The next day brought the crushing news that I had torn my abductor and that I would not be running my race—that I needed to rest and “live to run another day.”
I was so frustrated, angry, and defeated. I had worked hard throughout the freezing winter months to train and prepare, and after all that hard work… I would NOT get to race. To say that I was heartbroken was an understatement. I was not just asking God, but crying out to Him, “Why is this happening?” and “Why now, when I am so close to my goal?”
With each step, my muscles screamed, sending shock waves shooting through my lower body. In addition to the physical pain, fears that I would never walk—let alone, run—without pain again, swirled through my mind.
These beliefs, like a tornado destroying everything in its path, picked up my thoughts and threw me back in time to nearly fifteen years earlier, after my car accident, when the doctors informed me I would probably never work again, lift more than ten pounds repetitively, or be active to any real degree.
I found myself frustrated at being back at this crossroad and again reached out to my Heavenly Father. “What lesson am I not learning? What are you trying to tell me?” I questioned repeatedly over the next several weeks.
Earnestly studying my scriptures and praying, I began to notice a common phrase and theme emerging, popping up at every turn. First at a friend’s house, as a quote hanging on her wall. Then in a store. Next on the pages of a book and social media. And finally, as I walked out the elevator doors of the hospital and turned towards the waiting room, what I saw stopped me in my tracks. Pausing momentarily, I acknowledged that I finally understood His message. Etched in the glass of the hospital windows were these words: “Be Still and Know That I Am God.”
Be still… Hmm…
In our world today, with all the hustle and bustle, schedules and deadlines, mobile devices and communication at our fingertips, how often do we take the time to “be still” and listen to what our Heavenly Father is sharing with us?
Do we recognize His voice in the laughter of little children at play or in opportunities to serve that pass before our eyes? While saying our prayers, do we pause to listen for possible answers or do we jump up off our knees as we are saying, “Amen,” and scream off to do the next task or chore?
Taking moments to “be still” is allowing me to learn how our Heavenly Father speaks to me. I have not perfected this yet, but I am grateful for His patience and nurturing, even when it comes in ways I would not choose for myself.
As we run through this life, striving to go, do, and be—checking tasks off our proverbial list—let’s not forget to take a few quiet moments each day to nurture our spirits, check in with Heavenly Father, and listen for His Spirit to enlighten us with knowledge and guide and encourage us to choose the right path to become all that He knows we can be.
As for me, I decided to slow down and be still. The weeks turned into months but, ever so slowly, my body recovered. Slowly, ever so slowly, I began training again. Since then, I have done several half marathons and relays; and finally this spring, I began the training for a marathon.
I am a little wiser. I have learned to recognize when my body is telling me something is not quite right. Most importantly, however, I am learning to listen to Him—to “Be Still” and pay attention to the whisperings and promptings He has for me. It has been a magnificent journey that has led me down paths I would never have thought possible before.
CEO of Magnificent Moments, LLC
Inspirational Speaker, Author, and High Adventure Guide