That's the thing I realised this morning as I came to the end of my 4 mile run this morning.
Currently in training for the Varsity 10K which presents itself with all kind of mixed emotions, nerves and the inevitable question "Can I really do it?"
I'm no stranger to running. In 2013, I successfully completed a half marathon (which wasn't easy with the back pain, inflamed shins, constant calf muscle tension and shin splints which had me taking painkillers nearing the end) and last year I was set to run the Nike Women 10K race in London which I was stoked for.
However due to injuries, my calf muscles constantly playing up and nerve problems in my shins aggravated by running and which were caused by a hip misalignment, I had to back out and take some time out to have some physio therapy and rehabilitate my legs which also made it not possible to join the university's athletic team (I still forked the £43 official team jacket to motivate myself so at least I could be part of it in spirit!)
Sometimes it's hard for me to quit, especially with things that make me feel successful and capable and realise "if you keep going, you will end up with more harm than good" so taking the time out wasn't easy. Even though they say it's 'mind over matter' sometimes you have to listen your body first. And sometimes that's the case with life; last semester and recently I had to take time out from university due to my mental health which led to me not doing as well as I wanted or intended to with my degree. Which hit me hard as well, but like my friends were trying to explain to me "there's nothing wrong with being responsible and putting your health first"
Going back into training was slightly nerve wracking, it's always scary getting back into the ring. The same with life's challenges - you know the struggles but you question if you have the strength. It's beat you before, will it beat you again?
Even the past week wasn't easy as I could only manage a 3 mile run last week then my calf muscles tensed up and it took a couple of days for them to release back to normal.
Today I ran the first 4 mile run I had done in probably over a year. The first 2.5 miles were fine, then it got to the 3.1 mile mark which was where I felt the real struggle. Then I played Heart Attack by Demi Lovato which is one of those songs that takes me back to a happy place. Or a not so happy place I guess. Heart Attack was one of the songs I played during my first year of A levels and half marathon training which brought back flashbacks of the good times of running on the streets back home in the summer to the bad times of overcoming the struggles I faced with my mental health and stress that was present in my life at the time. Then before I realised I started being able to run consistently as a faster speed and broke a personal record in over the last two years. And then I realised, your power is sourced from your struggle, which has led to the strength you are equipped with today.
At many times in our lives we go through dark times where the odds are against us and bring pain and chaos into our lives. You get to the point you question what is God doing in your life, or even if there is a God. Nothing makes sense anymore. But it's okay because it brought you where you are today and you only embarked the strength you have today from overcoming your struggle. You're a warrior - it knocks you down but something defiant inside you, always you gets back up and you always get up and continue. And maybe that's the reason we have pain and struggles and times that try to get us to self destruct. To equip us with strength to be able to push ourselves forward like we never have before. To make us realise "we weren't made weak due to the struggles we faced, we were made powerful because we overcame them."